Reid backs bill giving legal marijuana dealers access to US banks
The top Democrat in the Senate is getting behind an effort to allow financial transactions for marijuana in states where the drug is legal.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) this week signed onto a bill that would provide marijuana businesses with access to the banking system.
The Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act introduced in July by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) would give marijuana businesses in states where it has been legalized a place to store their money.
However, it would not impact marijuana dealers in states where pot is still illegal.
The federal government still prohibits the use of marijuana, though 23 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized it. The inconsistency in marijuana laws has created headaches for many pot dealers, none more notable than the banking issue.
Currently, many banks do not accept money from legal marijuana dealers, because of the threat that the federal government will shut them down.
The bill, which is being pushed by eight Democrats and one Republicans, would take away that barrier, giving legal marijuana businesses access to the banking system.
But the legislation so far has seen no action in the Senate.