Jul 10, 2013 8:29 PM by Andy Koen
WASHINGTON, DC - Colorado Congressman Ed Perlmutter, (D) Boulder, introduced legislation Wednesday that seeks to resolve conflicts in federal and state law that currently prevent marijuana business owners from opening bank accounts.
Under current law, bankers and bank employees run the risk of being prosecuted under federal anti-money laundering statutes if they offer accounts for marijuana business owners because the drug is still illegal in the eyes of the federal government.
Perlmutter and a group of 16 other Republicans and Democrats in the House sponsored the legislation to create an exemption for states where some form of marijuana consumption is legal.
"We need to address the public safety, crime and lost tax revenue associated when these legal and regulated businesses are operating in a cash-only system," Ed Perlmutter said in a news release.
"We also need to provide financial institutions assurance that they can make their own business decisions related to legal, financial transactions without fear of regulatory penalties or criminal prosecution."
The bill was introduced in the House Financial Services Committee Wednesday. If passed, it would prohibit federal regulators from threatening, blocking or penalizing banks and other depository institutions for taking funds from legitimate marijuana businesses.
It would also protect a bank's access to the Deposit Insurance Fund, and protect the ability of marijuana business owners to open checking and savings accounts, apply for loans, exchange funds and other financial services.
The banks and their employees would also be immune from federal prosecution or investigation solely for providing banking services to covered businesses.