WASHINGTON, DC – A bill that would provide banking access to marijuana businesses was one of the items Congress left unfinished last year.
The US Senate has not voted on the measure.
NewsChannel 34’s Alexandra Limon reports on the bill’s prospects in 2020.
Thirty three states have legalized the sale of medical or recreational marijuana…but the booming industry does not have access to banking because marijuana sales are illegal federally.
Senator Roy Blunt: In an industry that I think drifts toward problems anyway. But if you make it all cash, you highly increase the bad things that can happen.
Republican Missiouri Senator Roy Blunt and Democratic Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley both support the Safe Banking Act which was passed by the US House last year.
They say having a cash based industry creates a lot of problems.
Senator Jeff Merkely: an invitation to assaults because people carry bags of money, an invitation to robberies to break into stores because there’s a lot of cash registers. its an invitation to cheating your employees or cheating on your taxes because there’s no electronic records.
But the bill also faces stiff opposition in the senate. the chairman of the banking committee says he’s concerned giving the marijuana industry access to banking will make it easier for drug cartels to launder money.
Luke Niforatos/ Smart Approaches to Marijuana: What this is really about is federally legalizing marijuana for all states.
Luke Niforatos is with Smart Approaches to Marijuana which lobbied hard to stop the bill.
Luke Niforatos: the states that have said we don’t want to have it be legalized will still have to deal with the consequences.
Niforatos calls the marijuana industry the new big tobacco and says his organization will fight any bills that help the industry grow.