Senate Votes to Open Banking Access to Pot Firms
July 24th, 2015
Policy, Top News
A Senate panel voted this week to make it easier for businesses that legally produce and sell marijuana to do business with banks and other financial services providers.
In a 16-14 vote, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved an amendment to a Treasury funding measure that would effectively ease laws that make it illegal for banks to handle money from marijuana vendors. The language from the bill passed the House last year, but was taken out during talks with the Senate, which effectively tabled it. Oregon Democrat Jeff Merkley led this successful effort in order to address problems faced by his own constituents.
The current law forces marijuana companies to conduct business exclusively in cash, which creates significant risk for both burglary and robbery. In addition, all-cash businesses are more difficult for the Internal Revenue Service and other regulators to track, which means that they may be missing out on some tax revenue as a result.
The Treasury and Justice departments had previously issued guidance intended to address the situation, but risk-averse banks refused to deal with these businesses without a change in federal laws. Notably, the Justice Department blocked police from cracking down on medical marijuana vendors and users under restrictions placed into the current budget, although these measures must be renewed each year to remain in place.
Currently, the U.S. federal government still considers marijuana to be a Schedule I Controlled Substance, which implies that it has no medical value whatsoever and is a highly addictive substance that should be treated the same as drugs like heroin.
This article was published by CFN Enterprises Inc. (OTCQB: CNFN), owner and operator of CFN Media, the industry’s leading agency and digital financial media network dedicated to the burgeoning CBD and legal cannabis industries. Call +1 (833) 420-CNFN for more information.
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