Bipartisan ABA-Backed Bill Aims to Address Marijuana Conundrum

Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and David Joyce (R-Ohio) today introduced the States Act, a bipartisan bill that aims to resolve the conflict between state and federal laws on marijuana. The bill would amend the Controlled Substances Act so that it no longer applies to persons acting in compliance with state or tribal laws on cannabis, and the proceeds of any compliant transaction would not be deemed unlawful under anti-money laundering statutes or other federal laws.

The American Bankers Association expressed its support for the bill. “The conflict between state and federal cannabis laws has become a challenge for many of our nation’s communities and the banks that serve them,” wrote ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols. “Like other measures that aim to provide clarity, the bipartisan States Act is an important step toward enabling financial services for cannabis-related businesses. . . . [It] is not a cure-all for the cannabis banking challenge, but it is a measure that helps banks serve the needs of their local communities.”

For the States Act to apply, state and tribal laws must continue to include basic protections. The bill keeps in place Controlled Substances Act bans on: endangering human life while manufacturing a controlled substance; employing minors in marijuana operations; distributing cannabis at transportation safety facilities like rest areas and truck stops; and distributing or selling marijuana to people under 21 except for medicinal purposes.