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Long Island Association Hosts Event on Cannabis and Banking

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Melville, NY October 6, 2022
Contact: Stacey Sikes, Vice President of Government Affairs and Communications

Long Island Association Hosts Event on Cannabis and Banking

Discussion focused on the consequences federal regulations have for emerging cannabis companies in New York State

October 6, 2022 - Today, the Long Island Association (LIA)’s Financial Services and Tax Policy Committee hosted an event that included a panel comprised of cannabis and banking experts.

“This dialogue is timely and important to have especially with New York set to open stores before the end of this year. We want to make sure companies interested in this emerging market have all of the information they need, and businesses leaders involved in this industry understand the obstacles current federal regulations pose to entrepreneurs,” said Matt Cohen, President & CEO of the Long Island Association.

Banking institutions that are federally insured are subject to federal law. Because cannabis is illegal on the national level and legalized in New York State, entrepreneurs operating in this market on Long Island will not be able to bank or obtain financing from a federally insured institution. This creates other challenges for businesses beyond the practical financial one, including public safety and concerns that come with operating a cash-only business. There are proposals in Washington to address this issue, and until it is resolved cannabis companies will have to find alternatives to banking with federally insured institutions and will struggle with this issue.

Among the group of expert panelists were:
• Chef Ali, HiFive Edible Wonders Inc., Co-Founder, The Cannabis Accountability Group
• Linda Armyn, Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer, Bethpage Federal Credit Union
• Brian Patrick Herrington, Esq., Vice President External Affairs, Scotts Miracle-Gro
• Peter Su, Senior Vice President, Green Check Verified

This event was hosted by the LIA’s Financial Services and Tax Policy Committee, which explores issues in the financial sector that affect Long Island’s business community and overall economic development. The Committee is Co-Chaired by Jeffrey Alter, CEO, Summit Health and Carolyn Mazzenga, Partner-in-Charge, Marcum LLP, and Co Vice-Chaired by Miriam Tanenbaum, Market Executive Head of LI/Queens Commercial Banking, Capital One Bank and Maureen Evers-Willox, Managing Partner, KPMG LLP, who moderated the discussion.

“Because cannabis is still considered illegal at the federal level, there is a disconnect between federal and state law,” said panelist Peter Su, Senior Vice President of Green Check Verified, a provider of cannabis banking solutions and expert advisory services for financial institutions. “This has a serious impact on business owners and workers who find themselves barred from capital and other banking services–they cannot operate safely, efficiently, nor successfully without any form of access to financial institutions.”

“It is vital to for any emerging industry to have a safe and sound foundation for success; especially when we are trying to ensure that it is equitable for all to obtain equal opportunity for success,” said another panelist, Chef Ali of HiFive Edible Wonders Inc., a small business caterer and Co-Founder of The Cannabis Accountability Group. “Without laws in place like SAFE Banking, cannabis workers and entrepreneurs will continue to be limited economically, and safety-wise. It shouldn’t be a privilege to be safe of violence and crime in your place of work, but should rather be the norm, no matter the industry you are employed in.”

“We’re glad to see established business-focused organizations like the Long Island Association bring together industry experts to educate the public, interested entrepreneurs and businesses on cannabis policy,” said panelist Brian Herrington of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company and Hawthorne Gardening Company. “Congress is at a critical juncture and must act now on the SAFE Banking Act to positively affect the financial and physical safety of New York’s businesses, consumers, and workers.”

To view pictures from the event, click here.
About Long Island Association
Founded in 1926, the Long Island Association is the region's leading non-profit and non-partisan business organization that amplifies the voice of the business community to guarantee a bright future for Long Island.

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