U.S. Sen. Warren Seeks to Pull Pot Shops Out of Banking Limbo
BOSTON (AP) — As marijuana shops sprout in states that have legalized the drug, they face a critical stumbling block – lack of access to the kind of routine banking services other businesses take for granted.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, is leading an effort to make sure vendors working with legal marijuana businesses, from chemists who test marijuana for harmful substances to firms that provide security, don’t have their banking services taken away.
It’s part of a wider effort by Warren and others to bring the burgeoning $7 billion marijuana industry in from a fiscal limbo she said forces many shops to rely solely on cash, making them tempting targets for criminals.
After voters in Warren’s home state approved a November ballot question to legalize the recreational use of pot, she joined nine other senators in sending a letter to a key federal regulator, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, calling on it to issue additional guidance to help banks provide services to marijuana shop vendors.
Twenty-eight states have legalized marijuana for medicinal or recreational use.
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Congress to Discuss Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition?
Although it remains uncertain whether the Trump Administration will shut down the cannabis industry when it takes over the United States later this month, nothing is stopping one ambitious lawmaker from pushing Congress to legalize the leaf nationwide.
U.S. Representative Jared Polis of Colorado, a man who has led the battle to end prohibition in the U.S. for the past several years, poured his heart out in a recent op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle, calling for congressional leadership to finally cut the prohibitionary shenanigans and make way for an opportunity to legalize marijuana across the entire nation.
In the piece, Polis said he plans to introduce a bill that would allow marijuana to be taxed and regulated similar to alcohol.
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