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Federal Government Unveils New Banking Access Guidance for Legitimate Marijuana Businesses

Feb 14, 2014
Press Release

Rep. Denny Heck (WA-10), who has been a leading voice in Congress on banking access for legitimate marijuana businesses, released the following statement in response to today's DOJ/Treasury announcement:

"Today's announcement makes it significantly safer to regulate and operate the voter-approved legitimate marijuana markets in Washington and Colorado. Legitimate marijuana businesses will no longer be forced to operate as cash-only businesses, a circumstance which has made them highly vulnerable to robbery and other criminal activities.

Instead, these businesses will have access to a full range of banking services. These services include accepting credit cards, direct depositing payroll checks, and more.

Federal regulators, especially those at the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, deserve credit for their diligence and thoroughness. Rep. Perlmutter and I have been communicating with them regularly over the past few months on the necessity of issuing this new guidance. Credit should also go to state officials in Washington and Colorado who have worked tirelessly to implement the will of the voters.

There is still, however, more to do. Regulators must implement this new guidance in a timely manner. Even then, state and federal laws will remain in conflict with one another, and some financial institutions will continue to decline to provide banking services to legitimate marijuana businesses.

The only way we can come to a complete resolution of this issue is by passing the Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act, which Rep. Perlmutter and I introduced last July. This bipartisan bill deserves a hearing this spring, before more states move to create their own legitimate marijuana markets."