US Senate panel balks at cannabis banking bill

US Senate panel balks at cannabis banking bill

Photo by Andy Feliciotti (@someguy) on Unsplash

Efforts to address the marijuana industry’s banking woes were dealt a second blow this month by a top Congressional committee.

The Senate Appropriations committee voted 21-10 into sideline an amendment that could have provided protections for financial institutions which open bank accounts for legal cannabis companies.  The move follows the recent defeat of a parallel amendment in the House last week.

Under current policies, banks that serve bud companies – both medical and recreational – must follow a complex patchwork of federal guidance, memos and costly compliance rules. Otherwise, they risk losing their charter.

That’s left many banks sitting on the sidelines and countless cannabis firms locking away millions of dollars in backroom vaults.

“The real losers from this action are our communities, that will remain less safe due to the cash that remains on the roads instead of in the bank,” said Kenneth Berke, co-founder of California-based PayQwick, which provides banking and payment solutions for cannabis companies.

“With a lot of the nation in favor of legal cannabis, it’s mind-boggling our elected representatives remain unwilling to pass desperately needed legislation. ”

The absence of banking options is leading an increasing number of nations to pursue their own solutions – including privately financed banking options and state-owned banks which would exclusively serve the industry.

But those proposals, and the new legislative defeats, have few industry insiders optimistic that a solution is on the horizon anytime soon.

“From a practical standpoint, this continues to surprise me, but from a political perspective, it’s not surprising at all, ” said David Dinenberg, founder and CEO of Kind Financial,  a cannabis compliance tech firm based in Los Angeles.

“Provided that we’ve Republican control, there’ll be no federal changes made. ”

Lisa Bernard-Kuhn can be achieved at [email protected]

Released at Fri, 22 Jun 2018 22:18:37 +0000

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