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Attorney General William Tong

05/09/2019

ATTORNEY GENERAL TONG JOINS COALITION OF 38 STATES URGING CONGRESS TO PASS LEGISLATION ALLOWING MARIJUANA-RELATED BUSINESS TO ACCESS THE BANKING SYSTEM

(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong today joined a bipartisan coalition of 38 states and territorial attorneys general urging Congress to pass the federal Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (H.R. 1595) or similar measures that would give legal marijuana-related businesses access to the federal banking system.

"Denying licensed medical marijuana-related businesses access to the federal banking system creates unnecessary vulnerability and safety risks. Businesses that are forced to operate as cash-only makes them targets for criminal activity, and makes it more difficult to track revenues for tax and compliance purposes. I join state attorneys general across the country in urging Congress to pass the SAFE Banking Act to give these businesses – legal under state law – access to the same regulated banking system as other businesses," said Attorney General Tong.

Under existing law, federal regulators prohibit financial institutions from providing 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 access 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 now it 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 chosen to endorse the legislation as one of its official policy positions. Historically, NAAG endorses less than a dozen policies a year. The full text of the letter can be read here.

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, Michigan, 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.

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