Michigan AG joins group calling for marijuana businesses to have bank access

Image: MGN Graphics

Legal marijuana-related businesses aren't allowed to use the federal banking system, but Michigan's attorney general has joined a bipartisan coalition calling for that to change.

Attorneys general from 38 states and territories are urging Congress to pass the federal Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (H.R. 1595) or similar measures.

“All legal and legitimate businesses should have a safe place to put their revenue and not have to rely on under-the-floorboard safes to store their legally earned money,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “Michigan expanding its market to include legal recreational sales of marijuana this year compels us to join this effort to ensure we protect Michigan businesses from becoming unnecessary targets of bad actors, keeping everyone safe in the process.”

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill has not joined the coalition.

From Attorney General Dana Nessel:

Attorney General Dana Nessel today joined a bipartisan coalition of 38 states and territorial Attorneys General strongly urging Congress to pass the federal Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (H.R. 1595) or similar measures that would allow legal marijuana-related businesses to use the federal banking system.

“All legal and legitimate businesses should have a safe place to put their revenue and not have to rely on under-the-floorboard safes to store their legally earned money,” Nessel said. “Michigan expanding its market to include legal recreational sales of marijuana this year compels us to join this effort to ensure we protect Michigan businesses from becoming unnecessary targets of bad actors, keeping everyone safe in the process.”

Under existing law, financial institutions are prohibited from providing banking services to marijuana businesses in states where medical or retail marijuana sales are legal. Forcing legal businesses to operate as cash-only operations poses serious safety threats, creating targets for violent and white-collar crime. The SAFE Banking Act permits marijuana-related businesses in states and territories with existing regulatory structures to use the federal banking system.

The SAFE Banking Act has widespread, bipartisan support with 172 cosponsors in the U.S. House. The House Financial Services Committee approved the bill in March and it now awaits a vote by the full House.

With the backing of 38 of the nation’s Attorneys General, the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) has endorsed the legislation as one of its official policy positions – a rare move for NAAG, which historically endorses less than a dozen policies a year. The full text of the letter can be read here.

In addition to Michigan, the coalition of states and territories includes Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, the Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.