Polis, Perlmutter Host Fed Reserve Chief for Roundtable with Cannabis Businesses

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Washington, DC, April 10, 2015 | comments

DENVER, CO – Representatives Jared Polis (CO-02) and Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) today hosted the Chief Executive of the Kansas City Federal Reserve, Esther George, for a roundtable discussion with Colorado cannabis businesses and industry leaders. Reps. Polis and Perlmutter invited George to meet with local cannabis businesses to hear first-hand the challenges they face without access to banking.

“We’re glad Esther George was gracious enough to take up our invitation to meet with local businesses and industry leaders here in Colorado to hear how a lack of access to the banking system hurts their business and harms public safety,” Polis said. “We will continue to work at the federal level to solve this problem in a sensible way and allow cannabis businesses to bank in the open without fear of their businesses and private accounts being shut down.”

"I appreciate President George and industry leaders coming together today for a productive meeting to continue the conversation about how to align federal and state laws to ensure access to the banking system for legitimate marijuana businesses,” Perlmutter said. "We have seen progress on this issue but there is more work to be done to address the public safety, crime and lost tax revenue associated with these legal and regulated businesses operating as cash-only operations."

Currently, under federal banking laws, legal and legitimate marijuana businesses that follow state law are prevented from opening bank accounts and operating as any other businesses would. They are forced to operate as cash-only enterprises, inviting crime such as robbery and tax evasion and adding to the burden of setting up a legitimate small business.  Today, 23 states plus Washington D.C. continue to face serious public safety concerns due to inaction on this issue. 

Last Congress, Reps. Perlmutter and Polis introduced commonsense legislation (H.R. 2652) to update federal banking rules to resolve conflicts between federal and state laws to allow legitimate marijuana businesses to access the banking system.  Rep. Perlmutter plans to re-introduce similar legislation at the end of April. 

Rep. Polis has also introduced legislation to reform our outdated drug laws more broadly. His Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, introduced in February, would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and leave the decision to legalize up to the states.  

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