Recreational marijuana might be having its moment, but that doesn't mean that all the kinks are worked out.
In a letter sent to congressional leaders on Tuesday, attorneys general from 17 states, Washington D.C. and the U.S. territory of Guam said they shared “a strong interest in protecting public safety and bringing grey market activities into the regulated banking sector.”
Because of laws that still classify it as an illicit substance on the federal level, the banking industry has yet to warm up to the burgeoning weed business for fear of criminal liability.'To alleviate those fears, a bipartisan group of 18 attorneys general from states with recreational and medical marijuana wants to bring the industry's financial side out of the shadows.
To address these challenges, we are requesting legislation that would provide a safe harbor for depository institutions that provide a financial product or service to a covered business in a state that has implemented laws and regulations that ensure accountability in the marijuana industry.
While some state leaders aren't nervous yet, the shift has made skittish some marijuana-focused businesses and states that are enjoying the tax benefits. Without protective legislation from Congress, a working relationship with the banking industry is out of reach and increased scrutiny from the Justice Department seems imminent.