Lakewood, CO -- Following the U.S. Dept. of Justice guidance regarding marijuana laws in Colorado and Washington, U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) issued the following statement:

"This guidance provides more clarification about how and when federal law enforcement officials will use resources to enforce violations of federal laws governing the possession, sale and use of marijuana in states, like Colorado, where it is legal and regulated. However, this memo does not address the conflicts that still remain between federal and state laws governing access to banking and financial services."

We need to address the public safety, crime and lost tax revenue associated when these legal and regulated businesses are operating in a cash-only system. We need to provide financial institutions certainty they can make their own business decisions related to legal, financial transactions without fear of regulatory penalties.

Currently, under federal banking laws, many legal, regulated legitimate marijuana businesses operating legally according to state law are prevented from maintaining bank accounts and accessing financial products like any other business such as accepting credit cards, depositing revenues, or writing checks to meet payroll or pay taxes. They are forced to operate as cash-only enterprises, inviting crime such as robbery and tax evasion only adding to the burden of setting up a legitimate small business.

My Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act (HR 2652) would allow banks, credit unions and other depository institutions the legal clearance to provide banking services to a marijuana-related legitimate business, ensuring these businesses do not have to operate on a cash-only basis.  It has bipartisan support, and I urge Congressional leaders to promptly move this bill forward to a vote."