Even though cannabis is legal for medicinal or adult use in over half of the United States, individuals and businesses who produce, sell, or possess cannabis are in violation of federal law under the Controlled Substances Act and 18 U.S.C. § 1956 and 1957.
The inconsistency between state and federal policy creates a burden on companies that are trying to maintain compliance in the legal industry, and it infringes on the rights of states and territories to choose and implement the policies that work best for them and their citizens.
Federal banking laws, tied to federal drug policies, prevent banks from providing financial services to state-regulated cannabis companies, forcing many businesses to deal primarily in cash.
The growing cannabis industry in the United States now employs hundreds of thousands of people and is expected to generate tens of billions of dollars in the next ten years; a cash-based system is not sustainable for an industry of that size.
New York Attorney General Letitia James and a bipartisan coalition of 21 attorneys general today urged Congress to pass H.R. 2093, also known as the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act (STATES Act) or a similar measure that would permit cannabis businesses to have access to the banking system.
“As the marketplace for legal cannabis-related business evolves, federal regulations governing the banking system must keep pace,” said Attorney General James. “It’s not only commonsense to fold a growing multi-billion dollar industry under the regulated banking sector, but it’s also a matter of public safety. With such widespread, bipartisan support, there is no reason this bill shouldn’t pass without delay.”
The STATES Act has the bipartisan support of 60 cosponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives and ten sponsors in the Senate.
States represented in the coalition included New York, Nevada, Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.