The amendment, sponsored by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and added to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, would prohibit the Treasury Department and its enforcement arm, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, from using federal funds to punish banks that provide financial services to cannabis businesses that are operating legally under state laws.
“Forcing [state-legal marijuana] businesses to deal exclusively in cash makes it more challenging for states to collect taxes, monitor transactions, and enforce some regulations”, says Dan Riffle, Director of Federal Policies for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Allowing these businesses to access basic banking services is a critical step toward letting states regulate marijuana as effectively and responsibly as possible.”
Riffle adds; “A strong majority of Americans think the federal government should stop interfering in state marijuana laws. It appears many, if not most, of the top 2016 presidential candidates agree.”