The four senators from Colorado and Oregon — the first two states to remove legal restrictions on recreational marijuana — yesterday introduced a bill intended to help state-licensed marijuana businesses access banking services in states that permit marijuana use and sale. Due to conflicts between state and federal law, which prohibits marijuana use and distribution, very few depository institutions have been willing to serve marijuana-related businesses.
The bill would stop federal banking regulators from prohibiting or discouraging financial institutions from serving state-regulated marijuana businesses and from cutting off deposit insurance for institutions that do so. It would also provide a legal safe harbor for banks, officers and staff who provide banking services to state-regulated marijuana businesses.
Under the bill, depository institutions would remain free to choose not to serve marijuana businesses, but if they do serve them, they would be obligated to comply with marijuana-related guidance from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.