The number of banks and credit unions willing to handle pot money is growing, but they still represent only a tiny fraction of the industry.
Attorneys general from 33 states on Wednesday urged Congress to approve a proposal intended to fully open the doors of the U.S. banking system to the legal marijuana industry.
Most Americans live in states where marijuana is legally available in some form. But most banks don’t want anything to do with money from the cannabis industry for fear it could expose them to legal trouble from the federal government, which still considers marijuana illegal.
“This is simple: not incorporating an $8.3 billion industry into our banking system is hurting our public safety and economy,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, whose state is the nation’s largest legal pot shop.
The bill “would reward taxpayers and small and local licensed businesses who play by the rules,” he said in a statement.
The conflict between state and federal law has left many growers and sellers in the burgeoning pot industry in a legal dilemma, shutting them out of everyday financial services like opening a bank account or obtaining a credit card. It also has forced many businesses to operate only in cash — sometimes vast amounts — making them ripe targets for crime.
Published: May 08, 2019
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News