As part of continuing efforts to end the cash-only nature of regulated marijuana markets, sixteen Members of Congress have asked federal banking regulators to implement new guidance that would bring licensed marijuana businesses into the banking system.
On February 14, the Departments of Justice and Treasury jointly issued guidance creating a framework to enable licensed and regulated marijuana businesses to access the banking system. In their words, the guidance ‘should enhance the availability of financial services for, and the financial transparency of, marijuana-related businesses.’
In letters sent to the prudential banking regulators today, sixteen Members of Congress urged these regulators to take the next step.
“In order for these goals to be achieved, it is critically important regulators implement this guidance and ensure on-site examiners fully comply with the new standards. Banks need to have confidence they can provide banking services to legitimate marijuana businesses without threat their regulators will penalize them, threaten their deposit insurance, increase their capital requirements or force them to close accounts or stop providing services,” the Members wrote.
A complete resolution to this issue would come with passage of H.R. 2652, the Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act, introduced by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO) and Rep. Denny Heck (WA). H.R. 2652 would change federal law to give full access to banking services to licensed marijuana businesses in states with regulated marijuana markets. The legislation currently has 28 bipartisan cosponsors but has not received a committee hearing.
The four letters, identical in content, were sent to Janet Yellen, Chair of the Federal Reserve; Thomas Curry, Comptroller of the Currency; Martin Gruenberg, Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; and Deborah Matz, Chairman of the National Credit Union Administration. One of the letters is attached.
The letters were signed by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO), Rep. Denny Heck (WA), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR), Rep. Barbara Lee (CA), Rep. Sam Farr (CA), Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA), Rep. George Miller (CA), Rep. Jim Moran (VA), Rep. Adam Smith (WA), Rep. Jared Polis (CO), Rep. Suzan DelBene (WA), Rep. Steve Cohen (TN), Rep. Beto O’Rourke (TX), Rep. Derek Kilmer (WA), Rep. Jim McDermott (WA), and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL).