Jul 112015
 July 11, 2015

banking marijuana industry bankThis week, Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Michael Bennett (D-CO), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the Marijuana Business Access to Banking Act, a bill that would allow banks to provide depository and other financial services to state-legal marijuana businesses. Currently, because marijuana is illegal under federal law, both medical and non-medical marijuana businesses are unable to access banking services like any other business. Consequently, many marijuana businesses operate on a cash-only basis, leading to huge public safety issues as businesses become the target of robberies, and are forced to hire armed security to protect their takings.

“One of the motivations for legalizing marijuana is to eliminate the black market and put marijuana in the hands of a legitimate regulated market,” said Michael Collins, Policy Manager at Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs. “Whether you are for or against legalization, you have to recognize that having marijuana businesses handling huge amounts of cash with nowhere to deposit the money is a public safety concern that Congress has to tackle.”

“In addition to the obvious public safety concerns cited by federal, state and local law enforcement officials, forcing these businesses to deal exclusively in cash makes it difficult for states to collect taxes, monitor transactions and enforce regulations supported by voters. Allowing these businesses to access basic banking services is a critical step toward letting states regulate marijuana as they see fit without federal interference, a position virtually every serious contender for the 2016 presidential nomination has taken,” said Dan Riffle, Federal Policy Director at Marijuana Policy Project.

Federal money laundering statutes and regulations intended to detect drug trafficking, terrorist activity, and other criminal acts have served as a major obstacle to state-legal marijuana businesses. There are significant public safety concerns associated with businesses that cannot access banking services like other businesses. These companies are unable to accept credit card transactions, and thus operate as cash-only. As a result, operators of marijuana dispensaries, as well as the businesses themselves, have been targeted for robbery by violent criminals. These small businesses sink significant sums of money into security measures like armed guards, floor sensors, panic buttons, because they are terrified of victimization as they handle substantial amounts of cash.

The Marijuana Access to Banking Act would remedy this situation and ensure that state-legal marijuana businesses can utilize the financial services necessary to provide protection and accountability for these businesses.

“The biggest crisis the cannabis industry faces is the lack of access to banking. This is about public safety, fundamental economic fairness and helping small, family run businesses succeed. No licensed, compliant business should have to place themselves, and their community, in danger because they cannot open and maintain a bank account,” said Amy Margolis of the Oregon Cannabis Association. “This legislation allows businesses to flourish, create jobs and maintain accurate bookkeeping, while helping regulatory and enforcement agencies understand how these businesses operate.”

Fortunately, Congress has begun to pay attention to this important issue. Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and Denny Heck (D-WA) introduced the House version of this Senate bill earlier in the year, having also introduced a banking bill the previous session. Last year, the  House passed a bipartisan amendment by Representatives Heck (D-WA), Perlmutter (D-CO), Lee (D-CA) and Rohrabacher (R-CA) preventing the Treasury Department from spending any funding to penalize financial institutions that provide financial services to marijuana businesses that are legal under state law. The amendment passed 231 to 192, and is expected to be offered again this year because it is a one-year spending provision. Similarly, Senators Booker (D-NJ), Paul (R-KY), and Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced sweeping medical marijuana legislation in March, the CARERS Act, that tackles the banking issue as well as other important issues such as patient access and protection. The bill already has 11 bipartisan cosponsors. Finally, the Senate Appropriations Committee has voted twice this year in support of medical marijuana.

Update 7/10/2015: Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has signed onto the bill as well.

Source: Drug Policy Alliancemake a donation

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  7 Responses to “Bipartisan Group Of U.S. Senators Introduce Marijuana Banking Bill”

  1.  

    THIS WEEKEND OVER 3000 AMERICANS WILL DIE OF CANCER

    EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM DESERVES THE RIGHT TO HAVE SAFE, LEGAL ACCESS TO MEDICAL MARIJUANA.

    EVERY SINGLE ONE.

    We need immediate action taken on the Federal level to make Medical Marijuana available IMMEDIATELY to Americans who need it in all 50 states.

    There’s an excellent case to be made that with the publication of the JAMA meta-analysis, the benefit of using Medical Marijuana for pain management is now “accepted science” and therefore, it is no longer possible to leave it on schedule 1. In that case, it must be immediately de-scheduled or rescheduled. Once it is moved to a schedule where it can be prescribed by Physicians, they would then have the same right they have with every other medication to prescribe it for off-label applications. I hope NORML or some other group immediately files suit on that basis — it seems like an irrefutable legal argument.

  2.  

    Legalize now. Those who stand in the way of progress will be known soon. I would not want to be one of those flat earthers of old. Same with Anti-Cannabis. Cannabis proven time and time again, to be round i.e effective for health benefits.

  3.  

    I can’t help but feel, and to say with
    certainty, that smoking marijuana brings me closer to God. That when
    presented clearly and with clarity of how marijuana helps me turn off my
    mind, expand my feelings and emotions, to ask the question behind the
    question behind the question in search for God’s truth for myself. I
    think a good man could bring this understanding of awareness to the
    masses of people and allow smoking marijuana as a religious freedom. We
    create with thought our feelings. What I’ve discovered is that smoking
    marijuana expands my focus. Our brain and mind is how we focus. This is
    the reason, and why we’re creators and even deliberate creators of our
    own destinies because we allow the mind to focus.

    This focusing
    creates a vibration. Humans are vibrational beings. The universe is a
    vibrational energy. Energy is something that can never be destroyed. So
    the way we understand this vibration is the way we understand what focus
    is. Focus is all about what we’re thinking, and speaking. So the way we
    understand how we focus, is on how we’re feeling. Our emotions
    determine how we’re feeling. So when I discovered that when I pay
    attention to the way I feel, I can control the way I feel by focusing my
    thoughts. I can then get into the same vibrational energy as with the
    source that’s within me. This source, is the source that’s within us
    all. We can have this source vibrational energy walk with us throughout
    our day.

    I think thoughts that are in alignment with what I feel
    source feels about me, or what source feels about anything, I feel that
    power of energy then going through me. Pretty amazing, so now I know
    with certainty I came from source energy. Every time I can, I then plug
    into this source energy. I can feel the power of this source. Like
    clarity more than confusion. Like happy more than sad. Like a feeling of
    love, more than a feeling of hate. I like feeling of appreciating, or
    optimism more than pessimism. Etc.

    Stay High and Keep Grinning!

    Michael
    http://www.equaltogod.com

  4.  

    Come senators, congressmen
    Please heed the call
    Don’t stand in the doorway
    Don’t block up the hall
    For he that gets hurt
    Will be he who has stalled
    There’s a battle outside
    And it is ragin’
    It’ll soon shake your windows
    And rattle your walls
    For the times they are
    a-changin’.

    “Sir Robert Dylan”

  5.  

    The best thing the government has done for the marijuana industry is to keep banking out. This caused the industry to grow at a slower pace but it is much stronger than what it would otherwise be.

    This is just a scam to open the industry up to predator banks.

    •  

      This is a stupid ass argument…go sell your conspiracy theory somewhere else. If you don’t think this is a good thing to allow MJ businesses to have access to banks then you are a fool.

    •  

      This is a ridiculous argument…the industry needs to safely house their cash to prevent robberies and allow for tax credits for expenses, etc.

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