(Photo Credit: BlueQ -Amazon.com)
Weed and Banks are not going to be bedfellows anytime soon it appears.
In June a U.S. Senate panel voted to block an amendment that would enable banks to open accounts for bud businesses without being penalized by federal regulators. According to Forbes, the Senate Committee on Appropriations voted 21 to 10 to table the amendment.
The current policy compels many bud companies to operate on an all-cash foundation, which can be”a big problem since it’s great for organized crime, it is great for money laundering, it is great for theft and larceny, it is fantastic for cheating on taxes, it is fantastic for cheating in your own payroll,” said Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), the host of this amendment, until the vote. “We are actually easing offense by not enabling the banking industry to offer basic services”
A number of Democratic members of the Senate panel, who said they encouraged the ability of marijuana companies to access financial services, objected to this step due to procedural issues.
“I’ve supported it previously and I think that it’s different today,” said Senator Jon Tester (D-MT). “It provides a level of confusion into the people that are out there doing business.” He added that it would provide a”false hope” to businesses because it only covers the Department of the Treasury and not the Justice Department.
“Can I think these companies should be able to bank?” He said. “Absolutely.”
Of course, legalization supporters were not happy with the vote.
Don Murphy of the Marijuana Policy Project stated,”Today was a victory for the drug cartels and anyone else that benefits from billions of dollars of unaccountable, untraceable and unbankable money.”
Despite the setback, new Treasury Department data shows that a growing number of financial institutions have been opening accounts for marijuana growers, processors, retailers and relevant outfits. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ strict stance on marijuana firms has been confronting pushback from the country’s banks, which are raising their lobbying efforts to get more lenient plans. In fact, with support from the President Donald Trump and Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren, the major banking industry associations are urging lawmakers to make it much easier for banks to function pot companies in states where cannabis is legal, such as California and Colorado.
The analysis noted that Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell supports the initiative, saying in a press conference last week that, while it’s a”difficult situation,” it would be”good if that could be described.”