Will Banks Be Able to Accept “Green” Deposits?
As Florida gears up for a vote on Amendment 2, the Medical Marijuana Amendment, the United States Senate may be getting ready to consider a proposal by Senator Jeff Merkley (D, OR) and Senator Patty Murray (D, WA) that would stop regulators from prohibiting, penalizing or discouraging banks from doing business with legal marijuana businesses. The senators, whose states have legalized recreational marijuana, have offered an amendment to an appropriations bill. The Senate Appropriations Committee has passed the amendment, 16-14. The amendment has yet to be attached to a specific bill and faces numerous hurdles. However, if ultimately passed, legal marijuana growers and dispensers should be able to deposit their cash in banks without fear of having their accounts frozen or seized.
The legal cannabis industry has become a cash business as the federal government has refused to recognize it. Consequently banking laws are vague and legal marijuana growers are often treated like drug cartels by the federal government, giving the government access to bank accounts. The result is that growers and dispensers often sit on cash, a dangerous practice and bad for the economy.
If the proposed amendment passes and if Amendment 2 passes, Florida will enter a new world. Medical marijuana growers and dispensers would be able to establish bank accounts and accept credit cards. Dispensaries would therefore become much safer places for customers and employers.