Gabbard Urges Equal Banking Access for State-Licensed Marijuana Businesses

January 23, 2018, 9:25 AM HST · Updated January 23, 9:31 AM
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US Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) and a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers urged the US Treasury to uphold federal guidance for marijuana-related businesses, and provide them with equal banking access.

PC: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. File image April 2017.

In a letter, the lawmakers called on the US Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to maintain federal guidance allowing cannabis-related businesses licensed under state law to access financial institutions and banks without facing federal prosecution.

Eight states and the District of Columbia permit adult recreational use of marijuana. Twenty-nine states including Hawai‘i, the District of Columbia, and the US territories of Guam and Puerto Rico allow medical marijuana use.

“Our outdated and contradictory federal laws on marijuana have created disorder in our economy, leaving state-licensed businesses and banks in confusion and uncertainty. For five years, our federal government ensured protection for financial institutions doing business with state-licensed marijuana-related businesses, only to face a complete reversal of policy under the Trump Administration,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

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“Until we remove marijuana from the Federal Controlled Substances List, we must uphold the 2014 U.S. Treasury guidance that improves public safety, reduces fraud, promotes opportunity, and strengthens our economy. That’s why I’m pushing this bipartisan initiative to ensure the U.S. Treasury maintains safe business practices and financial security for legal marijuana businesses in Hawai‘i and across the country,” she said.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is the lead Democratic co-sponsor of H.R.1227, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, which would take marijuana off the federal controlled substances list, as part of her commitment to common sense criminal justice reform. She has called for closing the gaps between federal and state law to resolve current contradictions and provide legally abiding marijuana businesses with clear access to financial services.

Cosigners of the letter include Representatives: Denny Heck (WA-10), Ed Perlmutter (CO-07), Don Young (AK-AL), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Carlos Curbelo (FL-26), Dina Titus (NV-01), Tom Garrett (VA-05), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Jacky Rosen (NV-03), Eric Swalwell (CA-15), Seth Moulton (MA-06), Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01), Jared Polis (CO-02), John Delaney (MD-06), Diana DeGette (CO-01), Matt Gaetz (FL-01), Darren Soto (FL-09), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Gwen S. Moore (WI-04), Charlie Crist (FL-13), Michael Capuano (MA-07), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Juan Vargas (CA-51), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Joe Courtney (CT-02), Brad Sherman (CA-30), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09).

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