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Michigan Gov. Whitmer joins bipartisan call for marijuana banking reform

Letter from Republican and Democratic governors encourages passage of Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act

In 2018, voters made Michigan the first state in the Midwest to legalize the use of recreational marijuana by a 56-44 percent margin, while medical marijuana use was legalized through a ballot initiative in 2008.
In 2018, voters made Michigan the first state in the Midwest to legalize the use of recreational marijuana by a 56-44 percent margin, while medical marijuana use was legalized through a ballot initiative in 2008. (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

DETROIT – On Monday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joined with fellow governors to call on Congressional leadership to pass the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which would remove legal limitations and allow financial institutions to bank with state-licensed cannabis businesses.

“Michiganders voted overwhelmingly to legalize the use of recreational marijuana in 2018, and we must respect the will of the voters,” said Whitmer. “Although legalization continues rolling on nationwide, we still have federal laws on the books that prohibit financial institutions from working with marijuana businesses legally under state law. To be blunt, legalization is great for the economy: it creates jobs and boosts tax revenue that can go towards our schools, communities, and first responders. This legislation ensures that Michigan’s marijuana businesses can grow and access the same resources that all legal businesses can.”

Related: Michigan’s marijuana industry leaves people of color behind

In 2018, voters made Michigan the first state in the Midwest to legalize the use of recreational marijuana by a 56-44 percent margin, while medical marijuana use was legalized through a ballot initiative in 2008.

Currently, financial institutions are prohibited under the Controlled Substances Act from accepting cash, checks or electronic payments from cannabis businesses. This leaves medical marijuana businesses in 34 states and recreational marijuana businesses in ten states with little to no option for banking.

“The SAFE Banking Act would remove the barrier and allow greater financial security and transparency for cannabis businesses,” a statement from Whitmer’s office read.

Whitmer signed an executive order to establish the Marijuana Regulatory Agency. The agency is tasked with creating a framework for implementation and regulation of the state’s new marijuana laws.

Read more: More: Michigan company aims to make cannabis industry more fair for all