House approves cannabis banking bill

The House voted 321-101 Monday to approve a cannabis banking bill that would allow banks to “provide services to cannabis companies” in states where marijuana is legalized.

Why it matters: In the past, banks have been hesitant to do business with companies involved with cannabis for fear of violating federal laws. If passed, this bill would remove one of the barriers to developing a national cannabis industry.

The big picture: The bill, which has rare bipartisan support, states that proceeds from legal marijuana businesses wouldn’t be considered illegal and prompts federal regulators to create regulations for supervising these kinds of transactions, per Reuters.

  • 17 states have legalized marijuana use, and 36 allow for medical marijuana use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
    • Some Senate Democrats are planning to introduce legislation to decriminalize marijuana nationally.

    What they’re saying: “Banks find themselves in a difficult situation due to the conflict between state and federal law, with local communities encouraging them to bank cannabis businesses and federal law prohibiting it,” the American Bankers Association wrote in a letter to lawmakers on Monday, Reuters reports.

    • “Congress must act to resolve this conflict.”

What’s next: The bill heads to the Senate for a vote.

 
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