Marijuana Industry: Congress Helping Pot Growers Become More Attractive Partner For Banks

Gonzales had no other option than to store and transport large amounts of cash, a situation that left him feeling unsafe and vulnerable to robberies and other crimes. He also couldnt accept credit card payments or start certain types of accounts. The federal executive branch released a number of “guidances” over the past year to provide financial institutions with more certainty, but banks still wouldnt work with Gonzales and many other pot entrepreneurs. Its not only a problem because its cash money that we cant put in the bank. Its also a danger to me and my children because people know we have cash money, he said in May. If we could accept credit cards, we wouldnt have to have as much cash money and robberies wouldnt be as much of a problem. But banks wont take any cash from a dispensary — not in California and not in Washington yet. But that may finally change. On Wednesday the U.S. House passed the Heck-Perlmutter-Lee-Rohrabacher amendment — or Heck amendment — to the H.R. 5016 spending bill by a vote of 231 to 192. The amendment blocks the Securities and Exchange Commission and Treasury Department from spending money to penalize banks and other financial institutions for working with pot businesses that do not break state law. The move bolsters the Obama administrations earlier attempts to address the financial access issue, which did not have the force of the law behind them.
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