US marijuana companies will have to continue operating as all-cash entities after the Senate rejected a proposal allowing banks to work with them.
US marijuana companies were hoping to see a proposal by Senator Jeff Merkley to change the status quo on marijuana banking, Forbes reported. Merkley said the current policy encourages money laundering.
Banks not giving their services to US marijuana companies will only help those companies to cheat on their taxes, he added.
“We’re really facilitating crime by not enabling the banking industry to provide basic services.”
However, many of the other Senators stood by the current policy on marijuana banking. They were convinced that the policy restricts new controversial policy riders.
Senator James Lankford, meanwhile, said that changing the policy would bring confusion.
“This amendment would [make] a confusing situation for banks and pot shops around the country, more confusing.”
The vote was ended on 21-10 from the Senate Appropriations Committee. However, similar amendments were approved by the same committee approved in 2015 and 2016.
Benefits illegal market
Don Murphy of the Marijuana Policy Project highlighted that rejecting the proposal is a benefit to the those in the illegal marijuana market.
“Today was a victory for the drug cartels and anyone else who benefits from billions of dollars of unaccountable, untraceable and unbankable cash.”
Supporting his statement was the political director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), Justin Strekal.
Strekal said “its absurd,” adding:
“The Senate Appropriations Committee chose to bury its head in the sand rather than make it easier for licensed and regulated marijuana businesses to operate safely, transparently or effectively.”
A cannabis banking amendment was approved by the House of Representatives in 2014 by a vote of 231 to 192. However, a provision was not included and the matter has since been blocked by Congressional Republican leadership.
Many officials in the Trump administration would like a solution to be reached.[share-btn]