House Approves Amendment to Allow Financial Institutions to Work With Marijuana Businesses

This afternoon, the House of Representatives voted 231 to 192 in favor of the Heck-Perlmutter-Lee-Rohrabacher Amendment, which will restrict Treasury Department and SEC funds from being spent to penalize financial institutions for providing services to marijuana related business that operate according to state law. This proposal amends H.R. 5016, a spending bill for fiscal year 2015 that funds the Internal Revenue Service, Treasury Department, and Securities and Exchange Commission.

The amendment reads:

“None of the funds made available in this Act may be used, with respect to the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, or Wisconsin or the District of Columbia, to prohibit, penalize, or otherwise discourage a financial institution from providing financial services to an entity solely because the entity is a manufacturer, producer, or person that participates in any business or organized activity that involves handling marijuana or marijuana products and engages in such activity pursuant to a law established by a State or a unit of local government.”

This vote comes on the heels of another recent historic vote in the House of Representatives, that restricted Department of Justice and DEA funds from being used to interfere in state approved medical marijuana programs. That measure is still awaiting action in the US Senate. This measure, HR 5106, will now be sent to the Senate as well.

“The recent votes in the House of Representatives demonstrate bi-partisan support at the federal level to allow states to experiment with new marijuana policies, free from federal interference,” stated NORML Communications Director Erik Altieri, “If implemented, this amendment will help alter the current untenable status quo that forces otherwise law abiding businesses to operate on a cash only basis, making them a target for criminal actions and unduly burdening their operations.”

39 thoughts

  1. I am constantly surprised by what this Republican led house can actually pass. Lets get these landmark bills signed and enacted.

  2. Only 33 states are listed in the amendment? What about the other 17 states – Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming?

  3. I’m a little dense on this one.

    So I’m guessing this has to pass the Senate, just like the restrict funds from the DEA to conduct raids on marijuana businesses? Still waiting.

    Does this mean banks are allowed to do business with marijuana businesses? The IRS is cool with this?

    [Paul Armentano responds: Correct. Any House provision must also be approved by the majority of the US Senate and then signed into law by the President before taking effect. This is step 1 in a multi-tiered legislative process.]

  4. WooHoooooo…. YEaH! Clap clap clllll… Waitasecond… Texas is NOT on this list… REALLY? Sooo… Democratic candidates this November can just say “I would have voted for that.”
    Just keeep diggin deeper Republicans…

  5. This is very encouraging. I wonder how much money this will save marijuana retailers. Maybe if they can start doing business with banks directly they can cut costs and the price of an ounce of marijuana where it is legalized can come down.

  6. @NORML- Do you know if this Marijuana amendment will include the large scale farming of industrial hemp in states that it is legal?

    Allowing American farmers access to credit and bank loans would speed up our hemp farming process. This could be worth billions.

    [Editor’s note: The banking amendment did not address industrial hemp production.]

  7. [Editor’s note: The banking amendment did not address industrial hemp production.]

    That’s too bad because industrial hemp is still the Billion dollar crop. The tax revenue alone would rebuild cities in our mid west. It would also turn the US into a giant CO 2 scrubbing machine if we planted enough.

    I’m happy to hear the banking industry is getting onboard. It proves that you are getting the message across.

  8. This is another step in the right direction. After so many years, prohibition on cannabis is finally nearing it’s end. The possibility that DC might soon do it, is an indication that the days of cannabis prohibition are numbered.
    It’s just a matter of time, until it comes to PA as well. Even Tom Corbett has said, something changes Federally, he’ll consider it. I hope his days are numbered though, as I am hoping for Tom Wolf to take over as Governor. At one time, I wanted to run for something. I still have it at the back of my mind, but when I would try, idk.

    I can not wait, it’ll be nice having a couple plants, and having the police not be able to do anything about it.

  9. I sent my representative your form email letter.
    Can Norml post a link for me to see how He voted.
    Being political active is more fun if you can keep score.

  10. To appreciate the irony; The Texas GOP is “for” hemp; but the Texas GOP is against hemp. Go figure!

  11. @ Julian from Anne

    “whoo whoo Conn. legalized Marijuana ! wait a minute…no home grow..and $25 a gram or so?
    hopefully the quality will be excellent !!! @@

  12. @Anne,
    The always positive Anne… Thanks. There is so much to celebrate with this bill… No matter how disappointed I am with my Texas Republican Representatives… It took a few Republicans elsewhere to pass this amendment through the House.
    Im sure the quality will be there, just use a vaporizer and make it last.
    Cannibanking… As soon this passes the Senate, we will have massive marijuana investment. What next? Canniversities?
    Too bad hemp missed this boat, but with this bill raking in investment and Florida voting in November, prohibition’s days are numbered.

  13. Must have been done to appease the banks. Boy, would I like to see the bankers get with the NORML train. Those people have KLOUT!

  14. I don’t see anything in the news about the relation of Failed War On Drugs to the children fleeing to our borders from Guatemala. Attacking the cartels in Mexico is pushing them south, where they are taking over. Money is extorted and kids are sent to collect to prevent identification. Children are being killed, raped and enslaved by Al Capone’s modern replacements.

  15. So does this allow American Express, Discover, Mastercard, Visa and/or private bank credit/debit cards to be used when purchasing either wholesale, retail, or personal legal use products and services ?

  16. Anne O’Green: the quality is likely to be not only excellent but you’ll have your choice of strains. If the free market works with pot the way it is supposed to work in real life, pot shops will have to compete with each other to provide a quality product at reasonable cost. think about how hard it would be to stay in business selling dried out brick weed when they guy down the street has sticky green buds. and with NORML taking the lead on establishing an office to hold pot shop owners accountable, how can you not have good weed?

  17. @Charles Love

    I saw one black representative speak on this in congress. I think you are right. One reason alcohol prohibition failed so quickly was the violence and graft it generated right here at home. We’ve been able to ignore it with the drug war, because most of it is hidden outside our own boarders.

  18. Everyone, who reads this, please go, to and look, for LEGALIZE RECREATIONAL, MARIJUANA IN FLORIDA. We need 1,000 signatures. Please help us legalize recreational marijuana, in Florida. It will take the money out of criminals pockets and put it, to good use, in our state’s economy.

    Respectfully yours,
    Teresa Gemmill

  19. This is a giant step in the right direction! I’m surprised that the super-powerful banking industry isn’t lobbying the federal government to take cannabis off of the scheduled substances list so they can get the green flowing.

  20. @ Julian: I will hold dear to my heart your “compliment” and try to live up to this!I think you are positive; creative and funny!

    I look forward to trying the “quality buds” !
    I think more people use “Herb” than is known~

  21. @ fireweed: appreciate your comment + advice
    the two benefits of dispensary weed
    a. legal; no landlord tenant disputes (such as me being seen buying or using weed; in CT landlord cannot evict for Medical marijuana”
    b. Better Quality (hopefully)
    c. Consistent Quality
    d. possible lower $$$ due to better quality!
    e. no need to hide my weed this will be great

  22. @ Norml
    a comment (Anne)
    “for about 6 months I was using expensive big green buds” I thought would be high THC; instead there was little THC: I had no other supply so I had to buy these; I think these were “high CBD buds”; my comment: High CBD Marijuana is good for “Extracts/Oils; not smoking; there is no benefit to smoking CBD !
    I think CBD Oil should be “an FDA prescription Gov. should not mix CBD w THC!”

  23. ps and then finally “thc buds” are available!

    so thanks for all your time and work Norml !

    This is good for the planet and Ecology too !
    “not to mention good for our Health!” Anne G.

  24. still having to get my medicine on the street here in ohio. until my life is impacted, I can’t cheer too loudly. we’ll see

  25. @ Julian keep those songs poems a’comin’! “you are smart too…because you understand what the average person does not; the idea “Hemp harvests will save Forests; people do not understand Hemp many uses…
    (Fiber; Oil; Seed milk; cloth; paper; and ?”
    u r right; we do have “reason to celebrate”!

  26. @ Sharon I hear ya’!! I have noticed a slight decrease in “price”; I buy regular as back up supply when “top quality” is scarce!

  27. You guys who are complaining that certain states are not on the list.. the states listed are those that have legalized marijuana for recreational or for medicinal use.

    Those that have not legalized it, well, it’s still illegal.

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