Thirty-eight attorneys general have written a letter to Congress asking the lawmakers to pass legislation which will enable the banking industry to receive money from legitimate marijuana businesses. The attorneys general are from different states and territories where marijuana is legal in some form.
While more than 33 states have legalized medical marijuana and 10 states plus the District of Columbia have legalized recreational cannabis, the federal government still regards marijuana as an illegal substance. This federal government position means that banks face a risk of federal enforcement action if money from the cannabis industry finds its way into any bank.
Consequently, most banks have been reluctant to accept marijuana companies as clients, and those that do charge high fees which make it very costly for cannabis businesses to access the most basic of banking services.
The attorneys general say this situation has created a public safety nightmare since the large amounts of cash held by cannabis businesses are an attractive target to criminals. They therefore call on Congress to pass the SAFE Banking Act or any other similar legislation so that the $8.3 billion cannabis industry can be admitted into the banking system.
Once all this money goes through banks, it would be easy for tax authorities to trace it in order to confirm that the cannabis companies are paying taxes as they should. Public safety will also be enhanced because the chance of robberies will have been reduced if cannabis businesses aren’t holding a lot of cash in their premises.
Towards the end of March this year, the Financial Services Committee of Congress advanced the SAFE Banking Bill and it now has 175 bipartisan co-sponsors.
The letter from the attorneys general shows how much support such a practical requirement attracts from state authorities who are at the forefront of this legal gray area in which legitimate cannabis businesses are entitled to all services like other businesses but federal law looks at them as pariahs.
Insiders say that the major stumbling block to the enactment of the SAFE Banking Act seems to be the senate leadership that don’t see the matter as a priority even if the bill may have sufficient votes to pass.
Nabis Holdings (CSE: NAB) (OTC: INNPF) (FRA: 71P) and MustGrow Biologics Corp. hope that the voices of different groups, such as the attorneys general, finally get Congress and the Senate to pass this commonsense law to allow states to make and enforce their own marijuana laws, which include giving banks assurances that they will not be sanctioned for working with the legal marijuana industry.
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