The U.S. House voted yesterday to allow access to banking for state-legal medical and recreational pot businesses. Currently, most banks turn away dispensary and recreational shop accounts due to marijuana remaining federally illegal. Those with accounts are forced to handle large amounts of cash as banks aren’t issuing credit cards or other normal banking services.
The Heck-Perlmutter-Lee-Rohrbacher amendment to the House spending bill was approved with a vote of 231-192. The bill makes it illegal for the Securities and Exchange Commission and Treasure Department to go after banks that hold accounts with state-legal marijuana businesses.
The House also rejected a bill by Louisiana Republican Rep. John Fleming, who was attempting to block the treasury department from implementing banking guidelines approved in February. Fleming’s measure failed with a 236 to 186 vote.
Dispensaries have been asking for banking help for years. In Colorado, dispensaries with no bank behind them have to operate completely in cash, making them targets for robberies and burglaries. Colorado Rep. Ed Perlmutter, a Democrat, says the move also helps dispensaries remain transparent and prove that they are keeping to state laws.
“You cannot track the [cash]money,” Perlmutter tells ABC News. “There is skimming and tax evasion. So the guidance by the Justice Department and the guidance by the Treasury Department is to bring this out into the open.”