The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a measure that would protect banks that choose to provide services to marijuana businesses.
The measure, proposed by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) as an amendment to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, would bar the Treasury Department from using federal money to penalize banks for providing services to marijuana businesses operating legally according to state laws. The Senate committee approved the measure 16-14 on Thursday.
The amendment could remedy the current situation, in which marijuana businesses unable to access financial services provided by banks are forced to operate using only cash, which, according to law-enforcement and other government officials, is a public safety risk.
Sen. Merkley introduced the measure, the Marijuana Business Access to Banking Act, earlier this month with co-sponsors Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Rand Paul (R-KY), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Patty Murray (D-WA).
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