Three state attorneys general and the top prosecutor for Washington, D.C. sent a letter to congressional leaders on Thursday, reiterating their support for legislation that would protect banks that service state-legal marijuana markets from being penalized by federal regulators.
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) is the chief sponsor of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act in the House, while Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Steve Daines (R-MT) are carrying their chamber’s version. Both were reintroduced with substantial bipartisan cosponsor lists last month.
Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser (D) led the new letter, which says that the signatories support the proposal and “encourage Congress to take action expeditiously.”
AG Weiser previously expressed support for the bill, which passed the House but failed to pass the U.S. Senate: https://t.co/MId1AqUtfv@RepPerlmutter recently reintroduced the bill, and the attorneys general urge the House of Representatives and Senate to promptly take action.
— CO Attorney General (@COAttnyGeneral) April 1, 2021
“Without access to traditional financial services, [state-legal marijuana businesses] operate exclusively or primarily in cash, making those businesses targets for criminal activity and hindering efforts to ensure regulatory and tax compliance and track financial flows,” they wrote. “This status quo—a rapidly expanding, multibillion-dollar national marketplace without access to the national banking systems—is untenable.”
The Republican attorneys general of North Dakota and Ohio, as well as the Democratic attorney general of Washington, D.C., joined Weiser in signing the letter. It’s similar to a message that 34 top state prosecutors sent to congressional leadership in 2020.
“To address an untenable status quo and recognize on the ground realities, we strongly urge the House of Representatives and Senate to promptly take up and act upon the SAFE Banking Act,” the new letter says. “Our states’ ability to protect public safety and properly regulate this new and growing