HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A bill in the Pennsylvania Senate would allow medical marijuana businesses to have easier access to banking and insurance services, and it is getting bipartisan support.

The bill, co-written by Senator John DiSanto (R-Dauphin, Perry) and Senator Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia) unanimously passed the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee on March 30. DiSanto said it supports a growing industry in the state.

A stop at the bank is routine for most business owners, but not every business in the Midstate can access those services.

“Credit and banking services are key to any legally operating business,” DiSanto said.

However, in the cannabis industry, marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, forcing many cannabis businesses to deal only in cash.

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“This can make dispensaries targets for armed robbery,” DiSanto said.

DiSanto is trying to change this. His new bill would protect banks that do business with medical cannabis providers.

“My bill will permit banks to operate without fear of punitive regulatory response from the state government,” he said.

He said it is not just easier for the business, but it is better for customers too.

“Customers don’t have to walk around with cash,” DiSanto said.

With Pennsylvania seeing not just dispensaries but testing and research labs growing marijuana, DiSanto said this effort is overdue.

“It’s a thriving, operating business in Pennsylvania that should be supported,” he said.

After unanimously passing committee, DiSanto is confident there is support from both sides of the aisle in the full Senate.

“There’s 600,000 citizens of Pennsylvania that are benefiting from legal, medical cannabis, so this really is a bipartisan issue,” he said.

DiSanto hopes the full Senate will vote on the bill by mid-April. If it passes, it would go to the House.