DENVER–Two pieces of legislation moving through Congress would significantly unwind the conflict between states that have enacted some form of marijuana legalization, and the federal government where marijuana remains illegal.
The SAFE Banking Act would give federal protection to banks that provide services to marijuana businesses operating under state law. While marijuana businesses in more mature markets such as Colorado’s can obtain deposit accounts under certain circumstances, federal law currently puts things such as commercial lending and credit card merchant services off limits. “If a business is legitimate in a particular state, they ought to be able to have legitimate banking services – checking accounts, credit cards, payroll, all of it,” said Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), a lead sponsor of the effort.
The STATES Act seeks a federalist approach to freeing up states to address marijuana as they choose. “If a state has decided to legalize marijuana or hemp, any of the spectrum of marijuana and hemp issues, then it’s no longer an illegal activity,” said U.S. Senator Gardner (R-CO), a lead sponsor of the bill. “It’s a two page bill that simply says a state can do it, and if a state does it, then that federal prohibition no longer applies.”
Neal Levine, CEO of the Cannabis Trade Federation and Mike Raisch, CFO of LivWell, a Colorado cannabis company, recently sat down with Complete Colorado Editor-in-Chief Mike Krause on the public affairs tv show Devil’s Advocate (airs Friday nights at 8:30 on Colorado Public Television) to discuss the issues, and the Colorado congressional delegation’s efforts on behalf of the bills. That video is below.