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Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul
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May 8, 2019

ATTORNEY GENERAL RAOUL URGES CONGRESS TO PASS LEGISLATION ALLOWING MARIJUANA-RELATED BUSINESSES TO ACCESS THE BANKING SYSTEM

Chicago — Attorney General Raoul, along with a bipartisan coalition of 37 states and territorial attorneys general, today urged 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.

“Inhibiting the ability of financial institutions to provide services to legal marijuana-related businesses and companies creates a public safety threat and often makes these businesses a target for criminal activity,” Raoul said. “I urge Congress to take action and pass the SAFE Banking Act.”

In a letter sent to Congressional leaders, Raoul and the coalition urge Congress to pass the SAFE Banking Act to permit marijuana-related businesses in states and territories with existing regulatory structures to access the federal banking system. This would bring billions of dollars into the banking sector, enabling law enforcement; federal, state and local tax agencies; and cannabis regulators in 33 states and several territories to more effectively monitor cannabis businesses and their transactions.

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 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.

Joining Raoul in submitting the letter are the attorneys general of Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, 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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