WASHINGTON – Rep. Ed Perlmutter told his GAC audience Wednesday morning he couldn't believe he was standing up on a stage, speaking in support of marijuana legislation.
However, the Colorado Democrat said now that his state has legalized marijuana use for adults, millions of dollars in cash transactions are putting legitimate businesses and their customers at risk. Two states – Colorado and Washington – have laws that legalize marijuana use for adults, and 20 additional states have medical marijuana laws in the books.
During the first week Colorado’s law was in effect, Perlmutter said, marijuana retailers conducted $5 million in cash-only transactions, because they did not have access to financial services.
“That breeds the potential for robbery, assault, fraud and even tax evasion,” he said.
In response, Perlmutter partnered with Rep. Denny Heck (R-Wash.) to introduce The Marijuana Business Access to Banking Act. The bill would provide banks and credit union with the legal clearance to offer banking services to businesses that abide by state marijuana laws.
Additionally, the congressman said recent guidelines released by the Department of Justice and U.S. Treasury provide further reassurance that credit unions can open accounts for state-legal businesses, even though the retailers run afoul of federal law.
Perlmutter also covered the Target breach in his speech, saying his own household cards were cancelled and replaced because his wife is a frequent Target shopper.