Republicans on Capitol Hill just blockaded an effort presented to the House of Representatives' Financial Services Committee to make it easier for banks to work with the cannabis industry.
Banks are afraid of violating money laundering and drug laws. As a result, many marijuana growers, sellers, and entrepreneurs carry out their business in cash, depriving them of the security of keeping their money in a financial institution, and other benefits, like business loans and other lines of credit.
Last Wednesday Democratic Congressman Ed Perlmutter introduced an amendment that would prevent the federal government from prosecuting financial institutions just for providing services to the legal cannabis industry.
Hat tip to Marijuana Moment for breaking this story.
“The regulatory confusion around marijuana and banking needs to be resolved,” said Perlmutter. “Prohibition is over. This committee has a responsibility to align the laws of the United States with those of the states so that there isn’t confusion. Public safety is at risk.”
Republicans on the committee, including Blaine Luetkemeyer of Missouri and Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas, used procedural moves to block the discussion with the objection that it was not germane to the overall bill being discussed, which was on stress testing financial institutions. This is even though Congress often ties amendments to bills that have much less of in common with each other.
Other Democrats on the committee, including Maxine Waters, defended Perlmutter's amendment. Waters said "“Someday we will realize that this is a federal issue that must be dealt with."
This is only the latest effort Republicans in Congress have made to block the integration of marijuana into society. Recently measures were blocked concerning taxation of marijuana businesses and increasing military veterans' participation in medical marijuana research.