Legal Marijuana Sales Still Constrained by the Federal Government:
Right now, there are two legislative initiatives that, if passed, would have a significant impact on the legal marijuana industry in the U.S. Although states are passing laws which makes the sale of medical and or recreational marijuana permissible in the state, marijuana is still listed as a Schedule 1 drug by the federal government. This scheduling means that it is prohibited nationally as a banned substance and that the drug holds no medical value. Consequently, the federal government’s schedule 1 listing sets up road blocks for states and for banking institutions and this ultimately affects the business of legal marijuana sales in the individual U.S. states in a negative way.
Current Legislation on the Table to Reform Federal Marijuana Law:
The bills, Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015 and the Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act of 2015 are two legislative initiatives that, if passed, would significantly impact legal marijuana sales in the U.S. If either one were to pass and become law, the business of legal marijuana sales in the U.S. would receive a significant boost.
Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015:
The bill, Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015, was introduced to the Senate in 2015 by the Democratic Senator out of Vermont, Bernie Sanders. Sanders believes that federal prohibition of marijuana should end all together. Passage of the bill he introduced would repeal all federal penalties for possessing and growing marijuana. Given passage of this bill, all states would be able to develop their own marijuana laws individually without fear of outside disturbance or punishment from the federal government. States would have the right to keep marijuana a banned substance within their borders if governing boards deemed appropriate. The bill Sanders has introduced would give the states the power to decide on appropriate marijuana reform, free of fears associated with potential federal punishment.
Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act of 2015:
The purpose of this bill is to create protections for depository institutions, like banks, that provide financial services to marijuana related businesses. Under the provisions of the bill, the federal banking regulator may not terminate or limit the deposit insurance solely because the depository institution provides financial services to a marijuana related legitimate business. Also, the federal banking regulator may not prohibit, or encourage a depository institution not to offer financial services to operators of legal marijuana related businesses. In general, the bill would not permit the federal banking regulator from prohibiting or penalizing a financial institution from providing financial services to a marijuana related legal business.