Although marijuana is now legal in a number of states, companies that sell it can’t use banks and credit unions to store funds, writes Idaho Business Review reporter Sharon Fisher. Banking association officials from all 50 states – including Idaho – are working to change that by writing to Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo, who chairs the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.

On March 28, the House Financial Services Committee voted 45-15 to pass H.R. 1595, the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2019, with 191 cosponsors, but it hasn’t passed the House. A Senate version was announced on April 11, with 22 cosponsors. Banking associations want Crapo to schedule hearings, but Crapo doesn’t appear likely to do that any time soon.

“Senator Crapo has said that he is very aware of concerns from financial institutions on this front and it is an issue that needs to be addressed, but as long as cannabis is illegal under federal law, it seems difficult for Congress to resolve the issue,” said Amanda Critchfield, Crapo’s spokeswoman. “It is probably something the Department of Justice needs to address before Congress acts. Crapo has not committed to holding a hearing on it, but it is something we are looking at.” You can read Fisher's full story here at (subscription required).

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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