The California Cannabis Banking Working Group (CBWG) is meeting this week to discuss the prospect of implementing a public banking model in California to facilitate access to financial services for marijuana-related businesses operating in compliance with state law. Following the passage of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Proposition 64) in November 2016, California State Treasurer John Chiang created the working group to help cannabis businesses obtain open access to banks.

A public bank is a financial institution owned by a state or other public actor that may assume the role of a central bank or a commercial bank. Currently there are only three such government-owned institutions in the United States, including the Bank of North Dakota, the Puerto Rico Government Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of the United States.