U.S. Reps. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) and Denny Heck (WA-10), along with a bipartisan group of 16 other Republicans and Democrats, on Wednesday re-introduced H.R. 2076, the Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act of 2015 to resolve the banking crisis marijuana-related businesses are facing.
By updating federal banking laws and regulations to resolve conflicts between federal and state laws, the legislation allows marijuana-related businesses to access the banking system, ensuring these businesses do not have to operate on a cash-only basis. In addition, a similar companion bill in the Senate is expected to be introduced soon.
“First and foremost this is an issue of public safety,” said Rep. Perlmutter. “Not only are the proprietors at risk, but the employees and customers are also at risk of serious and violent crimes.
"It is estimated that 40 percent of the marijuana-related businesses in Colorado are unbanked," Rep. Perlmutter said. "This means hundreds of millions of dollars in cash are moving around the streets of Colorado. There are now some 213 million Americans who live in the 23 states plus the District of Columbia where the voters have allowed for some use of marijuana, and it is coming to a state near you soon.”
“The federal government can’t keep an eye on business practices if they are forcing them offline and underground,” said Rep. Heck. “Forcing businesses into cash-only territory is a dangerous step away from legitimacy, transparency, and regulation and a huge step towards crime, tax evasion, and access to minors.