While the marijuana industry is booming thanks to legalization, there are still some areas of concern. Particularly when it comes to banking. And thanks to congressional Republicans, those issues will persist.
Republican congressional leaders have blocked consideration on a bill that would make it easier for marijuana businesses to deposit their profits into banks. Since marijuana is an illegal drug at the federal level, many financial institutions refuse to take money from cannabis-related businesses out of fear that the Justice Department could target them under money laundering and drug laws. Therefore many of these businesses are forced to operate as cash-only, making them a target for robberies.
To help solve this problem Congressman Ed Perlmutter, a Democrat from Colorado, proposed a bill that would prevent the federal government from punishing banks for doing business with marijuana companies.
“The regulatory confusion around marijuana and banking needs to be resolved,” Perlmutter said. “Prohibition is over. This committee has a responsibility to align the laws of the United States with those of the states so that there isn’t confusion. Public safety is at risk.”
However, Perlmutter's proposal was shot down by the commission he was on because Republicans said it wasn't relevant to the issue they were discussing, which was stress tests for financial institutions.
This is just another instance of congressional Republicans straight up avoiding the issue of marijuana by preventing bills from even getting voted on. Last week an amendment that involved taxing marijuana businesses that was meant to be added to the GOP new tax bill was shot down, and they also prevented a bill that would allow veterans to participate in marijuana research from receiving a vote.
So it appears that Republicans are avoiding going on the record when it comes to marijuana. They obviously know that the general population supports legalization efforts, but they're beholden to special interests and primary voters who still have backwards notions when it comes to cannabis.
I'm sure that won't come back to bite them.
(h/t Marijuana Moment)