Banks in the United States are often unwilling to work with marijuana businesses because they fear punishment from the federal government. But a new push by the U.S. Senate could fix that.
A proposal sponsored by a bipartisan group of 10 senators would prevent the federal government from punishing banks and other financial institutions for working with cannabis businesses. The proposal is led by Democratic senator from Oregon Jeff Merkley and Republican senator from Alaska Lisa Murkowski. The proposed law is an amendment to a larger bill being discussed by the Senate for removing restrictions from the Dodd-Frank bill from 2010.
The federal government is perfectly aware about the issues regarding banking and marijuana. In the past month, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has made multiple statements saying his department is working out a solution and that he wants cannabis companies to be able to store their profits in banks.
A 2014 memo sent out by the Treasury Department gave guidelines on how banks could work with marijuana businesses. However, Jeff Sessions decision to rescind protections for legalized marijuana states left many banks to worry that the Treasury memo would be rescinded as well.
Considering the Senate will probably need some Democratic votes to destroy Dodd-Frank, this proposal may actually have a chance of getting added to it.