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Senators Want Marijuana Banking Hearing

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A bipartisan group of seven U.S. senators is pushing leadership to hold a hearing on legislation that would allow marijuana businesses to store their profits in banks.

“In an industry conducting hundreds of millions of dollars in transactions, the lack of access to financial services has forced many to operate as cash only businesses, raising concerns regarding public safety, money laundering, and other potential crimes,” the lawmakers, led by Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), wrote on Wednesday.

Under the current federal law, many banks are reluctant to work with marijuana growers, processors and sellers that operate legally in accordance with a growing number of state laws.

Senate legislation to protect banks that serve state-legal cannabis businesses currently has 15 cosponsors, but it hasn’t been scheduled for a hearing or a vote.

“A legislative hearing would provide members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs the opportunity to question witnesses on the proposed bipartisan legislation,” the senators wrote in the new letter. “It would also allow for a better understanding of the current state of financial services for cannabis-related businesses, the need for legal certainty for financial institutions, and other important issues relating to financial services and the cannabis industry.”

Joining Cortez Masto on the letter are Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Patty Murray (D-WA) and Michael Bennet (D-CO).

A House companion bill on cannabis banking has 89 cosponsors.

Senate Could Vote To Let Marijuana Businesses Use Banks This Week

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Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 20-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

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