Perlmutter Defeats Amendment to Block Marijuana Banking Guidance, Blocks Funds from Penalizing Financial Institutions Serving Marijuana-Related Businesses

Today, Congressman Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) played a critical role in defeating a misguided amendment to block guidance on marijuana banking issued by the Federal Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and the Department of Justice (DOJ).  The amendment was offered by Rep. Fleming (LA-04) as part of the the FY15 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill. The regulatory guidance, issued in February 2014, helped pave the way for banks and credit unions to provide financial services and bank accounts to Colorado's licensed and regulated marijuana-businesses. 

Perlmutter said, "Forcing legal and licensed marijuana businesses to operate in cash is extremely dangerous and would put my constituents at risk of assault, robbery and other serious crimes.  This is about public safety.  A cash-only business puts all our communities at risk.  It is not fair to small businesses and employees in Colorado, and in the 33 other states and D.C. where some form of marijuana is legal or decriminalized, to be forced out of the banking system and discriminated against by the federal government."

In addition to defeating Rep. Fleming's amendment, Rep. Perlmutter joined with Rep. Denny Heck (WA-10) in a bi-partisan effort to pass an amendment blocking any funds from from being used to penalize a financial institution solely because the institution provides services to a licensed and regulated marijuana-related business.

"Passage of this amendment is a positive step forward for financial institutions and for legitimate marijuana businesses," continued Perlmutter.  "Legal marijuana businesses are subject to greater risks and penalties because they do not have access to the banking system.  We need to bridge the gap between state and federal lawin order to reflect the reality of the situation in a growing number of states."

In July 2013, Rep. Perlmutter and Rep. Denny Heck introduced H.R. 2652, the Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act, to 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.


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