Washington, DC: Members of the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs are scheduled to hear testimony next week regarding the need to provide greater access to financial services for state-licensed marijuana-related businesses.
The Senate hearing, titled "Challenges for Cannabis and Banking: Outside Perspectives," will take place on Tuesday, July 23, at 10am est. It marks the first time that members of the Senate have officially considered the need for marijuana-related banking reform.
Federal law and regulations currently discourage banks and other financial institutions from working directly with state-licensed cannabis businesses. According to recently published data from the US Treasury Department, fewer than 500 financial institutions nationwide currently provide services to cannabis-specific establishments.
Members of the House Committee on Financial Services, Subcommittee on Consumer Protections and Financial Institutions previously heard testimony on the issue in February. NORML submitted written testimony to Congress at that time opining: "For an industry seeking legitimacy and requiring transparency, the inability to obtain banking and credit access remains a primary but unnecessary roadblock. In order to truly bring the marijuana industry out of the shadows, actions need to be taken by Congress to amend these outdated and discriminatory practices."
Legislation (HR 1595 | S 1200 – The SAFE Banking Act) is pending in both chambers to create new federal protections for financial operators who work with state-compliant marijuana businesses. The House version of the Act, which was passed out of Committee earlier this year, has over 200 Congressional co-sponsors while the Senate version has 31 cosponsors.
For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.