Washington, DC: Members of the US Senate Appropriations Committee voted 16 to 14 late last week in favor of an amendment to allow state-compliant marijuana businesses to engage in relationships with financial institutions.
Sponsored by Senators Jeff Merkley (D) of Oregon and Patty Murray (D) of Washington, the amendment to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill prohibits the US Treasury Department from using federal funds to take punitive actions against banks that provide services to marijuana-related businesses that are operating legally under state laws.
The vote marks the first time that members of the US Congress have decided in favor of amending federal law to permit marijuana-related business access to banks and other financial institutions.
Commenting on the vote, NORML’s Political Director Danielle Keane said: "No industry can operate safely, transparently or effectively without access to banks or other financial institutions. It is time for Congress to change federal policy so that this growing number of state-compliant businesses, and their consumers, may operate in a manner that is similar to other legal commercial entities."
Related legislation, The Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act of 2015, is also pending before lawmakers in the United States House and Senate.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500 or Danielle Keane, NORML Political Director, at: firstname.lastname@example.org.