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Heck criticizes Republican blockage of pot banking amendment

Jun 22, 2016
In The News

U.S. Rep Denny Heck on Wednesday criticized actions by Republicans in the House of Representatives who blocked an amendment addressing the marijuana banking crisis as part of the Fiscal Year 2017 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act (H.R. 5485).

The bipartisan amendment, filed Monday by Heck and Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, would have banned federal regulators from penalizing banks, credit unions and other depository institutions for providing banking services to legal and licensed marijuana businesses.

This comes after the Senate Appropriations Committee adopted a similar amendment to the appropriations act in a 16-14 vote June 16.

The House amendment would have allowed otherwise legal marijuana-related businesses to operate according to state laws and enjoy access the banking system, according to a statement from Heck’s office.

One argument in favor of the bill predicts a reduction in the risks associated with the operation of a cash-only business.

“We are going backwards at a time when it is critical to public safety that we make progress,” Heck said in a news release.

With cannabis legal for adult consumption in Washington state, Heck stated that he has worked “for this common sense change for more than three years now, received bipartisan support, passed the amendment by a wide margin, and now all of a sudden this issue is labeled a ‘poison pill.’ ”

“We need to get serious about this and make these changes now,” he said.