Gov. Whitmer asks Congress to let banks serve marijuana businesses

She and 20 other governors want Congress to pass legislation allowing banks to accept money from cannabis companies
Marijuana buds are shown at Huron View Provisioning in Ann Arbor, Mich., Thursday, Jan. 28,...
Marijuana buds are shown at Huron View Provisioning in Ann Arbor, Mich., Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)(Paul Sancya | Associated Press)
Published: Apr. 19, 2021 at 4:13 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joined her counterparts in several states to call on Congress for changes allowing marijuana businesses to use the banking system.

Recreational and medical marijuana are legal under Michigan laws, but marijuana use or possession remains illegal under federal laws. That prohibits traditional banks from accepting cash, checks or electronic payments from state licensed marijuana businesses.

Whitmer and governors from 20 other states that legalized cannabis sent a letter to congressional leadership, asking them to pass the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act. That would remove the limitations that prevent banks from working with marijuana businesses.

“Michiganders voted overwhelmingly to legalize the use of recreational marijuana in 2018, and we must respect the will of the voters,” Whitmer said. “Although legalization continues rolling on nationwide, we still have federal laws on the books that prohibit financial institutions from working with marijuana businesses legally under state law.”

She opening banks to the marijuana industry would allow continued growth, which benefits schools, communities and first responders that receive a portion of Michigan’s marijuana tax revenue.

Currently, 10 states allow legal use of recreational marijuana while 34 states allow medical use of marijuana. Michigan marijuana businesses reported sales of about $341 million in 2020, generating over $46 million tax revenue for state and local governments.

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