Will Congress use marijuana banking legislation to outlaw Obama-era initiative?

CU executive testifies demanding clarity of the marijuana banking laws, while Senate leaders provide no clear path forward.

Senate Banking Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Id.)  on Tuesday appeared to link legislation allowing marijuana banking to a proposal to outlaw an Obama Administration initiative that he said allowed banks and credit unions to refuse to serve controversial industries, such as gun dealers.

Opening a hearing on legislation that would provide financial institutions with a safe harbor if they do business with cannabis-related companies, Crapo did not endorse marijuana banking, although he said that a strong case had been that the issue must be resolved.

However, he added that Congress should consider legislation to outlaw initiatives such as the Obama Administration’s Operation Choke Point. That project was intended to hold financial institutions accountable for processing transactions they knew were fraudulent.

Critics have said that the program empowered financial institutions to decline to provide services for controversial businesses, such as gun dealers and payday lenders.


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