Advance Notice: Briefs

Nessel joins AGs urging marijuana banking legislation

By: - May 9, 2019 11:04 am

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Attorney General Dana Nessel has joined yet another national coalition of attorneys general advocating for legal reform, this time to federal banks’ ability to service marijuana-related businesses.

The bipartisan group of 38 AGs are urging Congress to pass the Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act. House Resolution 1595 was introduced by a bipartisan group of legislators and would give legal marijuana businesses access to the federal banking system from which they have been shut out.

Attorney General Dana Nessel, April 16, 2019 | Susan J. Demas

“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 in a statement.

The Democrat added that “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.”

Michigan voters legalized the use of recreational marijuana with a ballot proposal last year. Medical marijuana was legalized in a 2008 measure.

Last month, a Court of Claims judge ruled that the state’s current unlicensed dispensaries can remain open until Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s recently-created Marijuana Regulatory Agency approves or disapproves their licensing applications.

The statement from Nessel echoes the argument of the SAFE Act’s authors, saying that “Forcing legal businesses to operate as cash-only operations poses serious safety threats, creating targets for violent and white-collar crime.”

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Currently, banks are not allowed allowed to service marijuana businesses even in states where the product’s sale and use are legal.

The lengthy list of other states whose attorneys general have endorsed the bill 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.

The National Association of Attorneys General also has endorsed the legislation.

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Derek Robertson
Derek Robertson

Derek Robertson is a former reporter for the Advance. Previously, he wrote for Politico Magazine in Washington. He is a Genesee County native and graduate of both Wayne State University, where he studied history, and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.