Washington Rep. Denny Heck Wants Legit Pot Businesses To Have Bank Access

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A congressman seeks legislation that would allow legitimate marijuana businesses operating in Washington and other states to be able to conduct business through banks and credit unions.

Rep. Denny Heck, a Democrat from Washington, and Rep. Earl Perlmutter, a Democrat from Colorado, are principal co-sponsors of a bill, the Marijuana Business Access to Banking Act, which would allow cannabis businesses to use banks and credit unions so long as they comply with laws in their states, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

“By prohibiting these legitimate marijuana businesses from using the financial system, they are forced to operate on a cash-only basis,” Heck said. “That makes it difficult for them to pay taxes, and it makes them difficult to audit.  It also places employees and storefronts at risk for robbery and violent crime, as some retail locations may have thousands of dollars in cash at any given point in time.”

The Daily Caller reported that the bill already has 25 co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle.

While Heck believes the bill is “a piece of legislation everyone can support, regardless of one’s views on whether adult marijuana usage should be made legal,” he expressed skepticism that he and his colleagues can convince the federal government that any marijuana business is “legitimate.”

However, Dan Riffle, the director of federal policies at the D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, was much more optimistic. He told The Daily Caller News Foundation, “There’s already a great deal of support for the bill, as evidenced by its 25 sponsors and support will only grow once licenses are issued in Washington and Colorado and this problem becomes more immediate.

“Marijuana prohibition’s days are numbered, and everyone in Washington knows that,” Riffle added. “Passage of this bill, or a broader one leaving marijuana policy up to the states, is a matter of ‘when,’ not ‘if.’”

Sources: Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Daily Caller