Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 16-14 today in favor of an amendment to allow state-compliant marijuana businesses to engage in relationships with financial institutions. Sponsored by Sens. 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 financial services to marijuana-related businesses that are operating legally under state laws. Presently, most major financial institutions refuse to provide services to state-compliant operators in the marijuana industry out of fear of federal repercussions. Their refusal to do so presents an unnecessary risk to both those who operate in the legal marijuana industry and to those consumers who patronize it. No industry can operate safely, transparently or effectively without access to banks or other financial institutions. Further, forcing state-licensed businesses to operate on a ‘cash-only’ basis increases the risks for crime and fraud. 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. Today’s Senate Committee vote marks the first step taken by Congress to address these federal policy deficiencies. Although stand-alone legislation, The Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act of 2015, is pending in both the House and the Senate, it appears unlikely at this time that leadership will move forward with either bill. This means that the Merkley/Murray amendment is like to be reformer’s best opportunity this Congress to impose substantial banking reform. Keep following NORML’s blog and Take Action Center for legislative updates as this and other relevant reform measures progress.
Al Jazeera AmericaSenators unveil marijuana banking billAl Jazeera AmericaThe Senate introduced a bipartisan bill on Thursday that would prevent criminal prosecution as well as liability and asset forfeiture for banks that do business with a state-sanctioned marijuana business. Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat, and Sen.Rand Paul backs effort to bring banking to legal marijuana businessesYahoo FinanceBipartisan marijuana banking bill introduced in the SenatePoliticoMarijuana banking bill introduced in SenateThe Denver PostDaily Caller -PoliticusUSA -KOAA.com Colorado Springs and Pueblo Newsall 59 news articles »
OPB NewsWhy You Can't Buy Marijuana On July 1 And Other Answers About Legal PotOPB NewsStarting next week, Oregonians will be able to carry, share and consume recreational marijuana, but with no stores opening on the first day of legalization, a lot of people are still hazy on how Measure 91 will affect their lives. Here's everything …A marijuana primer: Do's, don'ts, maybesThe Register-GuardWhat you need to know about recreational marijuanaCorvallis Gazette TimesPot will be legal in Oregon — but you can't buy itStatesman JournalABC News -The Daily Chronic -KUOW News and Informationall 47 news articles »
Morning Journal, 25 Jun 2015 – COLUMBUS (AP) – The Ohio House on Wednesday passed a fast-moving anti-monopoly proposal that the state’s elections chief has said could block an effort to legalize marijuana if both issues are put before and approved by voters. The House voted 81-12 in favor of the resolution, which aims to make it more difficult to amend the constitution with ballot issues that provide commercial economic benefits to few people or create monopolies.
Members of the United States Senate Appropriations Committee voted by a margin of 2 to 1 today in favor of language limiting the Justice Department’s ability to take criminal action against state-licensed operations that are acting in full compliance with the medical marijuana laws of their states. The provision was offered as an amendment by Rep. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) in the Senate version of the Fiscal Year 2016 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill. The Senate amendment mirrors language approved by the House last week in their version of the CJS bill. Passage of the provision reauthorizes protections signed into law last year, but which are set to expire this September. A vote by the full Senate and reconciliation with the House is necessary before the 2016 spending bill is transmitted to the President.