COLORADO: Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee wrote to federal regulators Wednesday asking for flexibility in federal banking regulations so state-licensed marijuana businesses have access to the banking system.
The letter calls on federal banking regulators to provide guidance to enable the banking industry to offer full banking services to state marijuana licensees.
Both states voted to legalize recreational pot sales in last November’s elections. But marijuana remains illegal under federal law, putting ordinary banking services out of reach of pot retailers.
“Colorado and Washington are in the process of implementing citizen initiatives permitting the production, processing, and sale of marijuana to adults for recreational use, in compliance with state law,” the governors say in the letter.
“Access to the banking system by these state-licensed businesses is a necessary component in ensuring a highly regulated marijuana system that will accurately track funds, prevent criminal involvement and promote public safety,” the letter continued.
“In order to achieve the mutual federal and state goal of establishing tightly controlled marijuana regulatory systems, we urge you to issue inter-agency guidance that will allow legal, licensed marijuana businesses access to the banking system.”
The letter was sent to Jacob Lew, secretary of the Treasury; Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve; Martin Gruenberg, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Thomas Curry, comptroller of the currency in the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency; Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; and Debbie Matz, chairwoman of the National Credit Union Administration.