Marijuana Banking Bill Receives Support From 19 State Attorneys General

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The Alaska and Hawaii attorneys general asked Congress to change laws so marijuana businesses can start using banks.

In a letter to 10 Congressional leaders, the attorneys general noted how previous Department of Justice guidance outlined how financial institutions could provide services to state-licensed cannabis operations while meeting their obligations to federal law.

His comments refer to Attorney General Jeff Sessions who recently rescinded an Obama-era law that allows states to regulate marijuana without federal interference.

Dispensaries, growers and users that are abiding by current state laws should be afforded protections under those same laws and should not have their rights infringed upon by anyone at the federal level, including the current office of the attorney general.

California is one of many states searching for a banking solution after voters approved adult use of recreational marijuana in November 2016.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Tuesday that the Golden State wants to shed light on the legal marijuana "gray market" and find ways for businesses to safely deposit and pay their pot taxes. "Voters have spoken on this issue and voted to legalize some form of marijuana in almost every state in the country".

"The future of small and local licensed businesses has been clouded by the Trump administration's relentless attacks on progress, in conflict with the will of voters", he said.

"Our banking system must be flexible enough to address the needs of businesses in the various states, with state input, while protecting the interests of the federal government", they said.

The Colorado Democrat introduced the SAFE Banking Act last April with co-sponsors Denny Heck, D-Washington, and Don Young, R-Alaska.

The officials say their legislation would not only protect public safety, but would also result in billions of dollars being infused into the banking industry. Accordingly, financial institutions are reluctant to provide services to cannabis businesses operating legally within their state jurisdiction. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Sen.

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