The Bankers Associations of every US state have voiced their support for allowing legal marijuana businesses access to banking services.
As it stands right now, legal marijuana businesses in the US are largely banned from accessing the key banking services that nearly all legitimate business now rely on. Current federal regulations are such that if a bank does choose to work with state legal cannabis businesses, they can be prosecuted under money laundering laws for dealing with an industry that is still illegal on the federal level. However, Bankers Associations across the country are calling for a change to this federal policy which they say "presents serious public safety, revenue administration, and legal compliance concerns."
"As a result of congressional inaction and the lack of regulatory clarity, legal cannabis businesses must operate on an all-cash basis, subjecting their employees and the general public to serious risk of criminal activity and harm," reads a letter sent to the Senate Banking Committee on behalf of the Bankers Association of all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
"These businesses also must remit payments for state taxes and licensing fees in cash, denying the states the efficiencies and safety of more modern payment methods. This in turn significantly increases state compliance auditing costs, since operating on an all-cash basis leaves no paper trails for auditors to follow."
The letter comes as Rep. Ed Perlmutter's (D-CO) SAFE Banking Act—a bill that would allow banks to work with the legal cannabis industry without fear of persecution—makes its way through Congress. The bill has previously also received support from the majority of State Attorney Generals and a number of State Treasurers as well. And while the Bankers Associations said they were not prepared to take a stance on the legalization of marijuana they said the industry's banking issue "must be remedied immediately."
"We appreciate that there are broader public policy questions surrounding cannabis legalization that merit debate, but we ask that you focus narrowly on the urgent banking problem at hand, which is within your power to resolve."
However, despite the bill's wide support, boasting 163 co-sponsors in the House, Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), chairman of the Senate Banking Committee has not committed to bringing the Senate version of the bill to his panel. But, perhaps in light of the massive support the bill has received in recent days, Crapo can be swayed to give the bill a shot.
h/t Marijuana Moment