by Valerie Taylor, Vice President (National Cannabis Practice Leader), The Liberty Company Insurance Brokers
As an insurance professional and broker who worked with more than 70 cannabis clients, I have seen firsthand how the lack of access to traditional banking services has affected cannabis businesses. The cannabis industry has faced many hurdles since its inception, and access to traditional banking services has been one of the biggest obstacles. This has created significant challenges for cannabis businesses, forcing them to operate on a cash-only basis and creating safety concerns.
The SAFE Banking Act is a necessary step toward creating a more supportive regulatory environment for the cannabis industry. The act would provide greater transparency into financial transactions and encourage more insurance companies to enter the market. This would benefit not only the cannabis clients but also the insurance companies by providing greater coverage options.
The current situation has a significant impact on the life of a cannabis business owner/operator. Banking with a cannabis bank can be expensive, driving down profits. Cashless ATMs and payment processing platforms have costs associated with them, which also drive down profits or are pushed onto the consumer. Additionally, accepting cash increases the risk of theft, leading to the need for expensive security measures. What’s more, investing in an adequate safe is required by insurance carriers, which can also be costly and further drive down profits. Due to the cash-intensive nature of the business, insurance companies offer limited coverage on cash.
Passing the SAFE Banking Act could help solve these issues by providing cannabis businesses with greater access to banking services, which would help them manage their finances more efficiently and effectively. This would also provide greater transparency into financial transactions, making it easier for insurance companies to assess risk and provide coverage options.
Moreover, the passage of the SAFE Banking Act would help create a more supportive regulatory environment for the cannabis industry. The current lack of access to traditional banking services has created significant challenges for cannabis businesses, forcing them to operate in a largely unregulated environment. This makes it difficult for them to comply with regulations and puts them at a disadvantage compared to other industries.
The cannabis industry is still in its early stages, and it requires significant capital to operate. Without access to traditional banking services, cannabis businesses struggle to obtain loans or lines of credit, making it difficult for them to grow and expand. Passing the SAFE Banking Act would provide cannabis businesses with greater access to capital, which would help them invest in their businesses and drive growth.
Finally, passing the SAFE Banking Act would benefit insurance companies as well. By providing greater coverage options, insurance companies would be better able to serve the needs of the cannabis industry. Additionally, the act would encourage more insurance companies to enter the market, which would increase competition and drive down costs for cannabis clients.
Overall, passing the SAFE Banking Act is a necessary step toward creating a more supportive regulatory environment for the cannabis industry. It would provide cannabis businesses with greater access to banking services, help them manage their finances more efficiently and effectively, and provide them with greater access to capital. This would benefit both cannabis clients and insurance companies, and I strongly believe that policymakers should take swift action to support this growing industry.
Valerie Taylor, Producer, Vice President and National Cannabis Practice Leader, The Liberty Company Insurance Brokers
Valerie has over 16 years of experience in the insurance industry with specialized niches in cannabis, real estate, and community associations. With experience working for companies such as McDermott Costa Insurance Brokers, AmWINS Group, Inc., Commercial Coverage Ins. Agency, and Colemont Insurance Brokers, Valerie has developed a love of helping clients navigate the world of insurance by creating an understanding of the value behind insuring their business. In addition to her professional work, Valerie serves as the CREW East Bay Chair on the Programs Committee, is a National Cannabis Bar Association member, NCIA member, and volunteers in East Bay communities with Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library to show people how to save vegetable seeds and grow their own food. In 2021, Valerie received the 2021 and 2022 CREW East Bay Connections Award and was a nominee for the Elevate 2021 Industry Impact award.
With a drive and passion for helping people, Valerie has gone back to her long-standing roots in the plant medicine industry and uses her unique lens of growing up surrounded by cultivators and sellers to validate her client’s business needs. Valerie strives to break the mold of how insurance and cannabis has partnered together to give back to the community she grew up in. With a strong insurance background and an in-depth knowledge of the cannabis industry, Valerie has been a trusted advisor for over 70 cannabis clients.
For more information on Liberty’s National Cannabis Practice Group, please reach out to Valerie Taylor, Vice President (National Cannabis Practice Leader), The Liberty Company Insurance Brokers.