43ºF

Michigan marijuana businesses could use banks if bill passes Congress

House committee takes first step

Marijuana in a jar
Marijuana in a jar

DETROIT – Congress is considering new legislation that would let Michigan marijuana businesses work with banks.

Right now federal law prohibits banks and credit unions from handling money associated with marijuana (cannabis) businesses. However, the House Financial Services committee approved a bill (45-15) this month to remove such prohibition in the states where marijuana is legal. Michigan voters approved the legalization of recreational marijuana this past November.

HR 1595, the "Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act," is meant to "harmonize federal and state law by prohibiting federal banking regulators from engaging in certain actions against financial institutions, such as discouraging, prohibiting, or penalizing depository institutions that serve cannabis-related legitimate businesses."

Detroit Democrat Rep. Rashida Tlaib voted in favor of the bill, while Zeeland Republican Rep. Bill Huizenga voted against it. The bill is expected to pass the full House, but it's unclear if it will survive the Senate.

It's legal for someone 21 or older to use marijuana in Michigan right now, but the state is not expected to start issuing marijuana business licenses for commercial sales until next year. Medical marijuana businesses already have been in operation for a decade in the Great Lakes state. Many medical marijuana business owners have cried for the same treatment as any other legitimate business, such as being able to securely store their money in banks and working with banking services.


About the Author: