A new, groundbreaking legislation introduced to the US senate could finally ensure that the cannabis industry has access to banks.
Despite the fact that 44 states in America have legalized medical and/or recreational cannabis in some form, cannabis remains illegal at a federal level. This has meant that businesses in the cannabis industry have been denied access to banking services.
Federal law also means that any banks currently dealing with cannabis businesses could be prosecuted, which has distanced any prospective relationship between the two industries even further apart.
However, a new legislation introduced to the senate last week would ensure that legal cannabis businesses can finally enjoy access to banking services.
Jeff Merkley, a democratic representative from Oregon introduced the new measure and he spoke to the press last week explaining his frustrations with current federal law;
“Forcing legal businesses to operate in all cash is an invitation to money laundering and robbery. It’s absurd that cannabis business owners in Oregon have to shuttle around gym bags full of cash to pay their taxes or compensate their employees. This is a public safety issue, and rather than making it even harder for banks to serve these legal businesses, President Trump and Attorney General Sessions should work with us to end this unnecessary risk for communities across America.”
The new legislation listed it requirements, which were presented as follows;
- Prohibiting, penalising or discouraging a bank from providing financial services to a legitimate state-sanctioned and regulated cannabis business, or an associated business (such as an lawyer or landlord providing services to a legal cannabis business);
- Terminating or limiting a bank’s federal deposit insurance solely because the bank is providing services to a state-sanctioned cannabis business or associated business;
- Recommending or incentivizing a bank to halt or downgrade providing any kind of banking services to these businesses; or
- Taking any action on a loan to an owner or operator of a cannabis-related business.
No decision has been made by the senate as to whether the legislation will become law.