The 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. Cory Gardner, a Republican, both of Colorado, announced the bill in a joint statement.
Joint statement. Har.
Last year, the Treasury Department said banks could serve the marijuana industry under certain conditions. Many banks call the guidelines too onerous, resulting in a marijuana industry that still relies heavily on cash. That reliance on cash rather than traditional banking methods has made marijuana dispensary operators robbery targets.
Marijuana advocacy groups lauded the new bill, citing safety issues involved with cash-rich businesses…
Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado, a state that legalized marijuana in 2012, praised the Senate bill, saying the federal government has a duty to ensure the safety of people as the marijuana legalization experiment expands in states across the country.
At the community level, banks considered the Treasury statement last year to be nothing more than window dressing. Unless laws and regulations are officially changed no bank executive is going to consider arrest or closure of their bank at the whim of some pissed-off bureaucrat. Laws to protect folks who aren’t breaking reasonable laws should be easy as pie.
The problem, as usual, is Congress. Federal laws passed from sheer stupidity, obstinate sophistry, decades ago.