Congressman Perlmutter is a longtime friend of the marijuana reform movement and tireless champion of the SAFE Banking Act to normalize cannabis commerce.
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"Given the uncertainty facing this industry in CO & across the country, securing banking and recreational marijuana protections would have provided some relief for these legitimate businesses. I'll continue to try & align state & federal law on this issue."
"Today's decision by Attorney General Sessions rolls back the progress we've made to balance the laws of Colorado with the priorities of federal law enforcement. The Cole memo provided assurances to states like Colorado with marijuana use and a strict regulatory structure in place by allowing these states to proceed according to the will of their voters. While it did not relieve all uncertainty, especially for financial institutions, it was a step forward. Today's announcement creates even greater uncertainty in the industry and shows a lack of respect for states' rights.
"The regulatory confusion around marijuana and banking needs to be resolved," Perlmutter said during the markup. "Prohibition is over. This committee has a responsibility to align the laws of the United States with those of the states so that there isn't confusion. Public safety is at risk." Perlmutter referred to the case of an Iraq War veteran who was killed during a robbery while working as a security guard at a marijuana retail operation in Colorado. "This is a real issue that this committee must deal with and confront and cannot overlook any more," he said. "I don't think there's a single person on this committee that is in a state that doesn't allow some level of marijuana use," Perlmutter noted, referring to the 46 states that either have comprehensive medical cannabis laws or allow limited uses of low-THC marijuana extracts.
"Allowing tightly regulated marijuana businesses the ability to access the banking system will help reduce the threat of crime, robbery and assault in our communities and keep the cash out of cartels," Perlmutter said in a statement. "With the majority of states now allowing for some form of recreational or medical marijuana, we have reached a tipping point on this issue and it's time for Congress to act."
An interview by Westworld: [It's about] states' rights and allowing these businesses where the people have said, "We think some level of marijuana use is okay" - let those states move forward. Right now they're very contradictory. They really are in conflict, and the Obama administration, through the Cole Memo, tried to bridge this conflict a little bit by saying if a state or a marijuana business goes through a bunch of different hurdles, then we, the Obama administration and the Justice Department and the Treasury Department, we've got other things to work on, and we're not going to focus our efforts on that, but you've got to go through those hoops. From administration to administration, the memo could be followed or ignored. We could, by legislation, do the very same thing, even make it a stronger law than a memo - stronger than a guidance.
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