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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes urged Congress to pass legislation that would give legal marijuana-related businesses access to the federal banking system.
Reyes said Congress needs to face the reality that legislation is crucial to providing structure to the rapidly growing cannabis industry.
"In Utah, we need to address the business side of our state’s medical marijuana law," he said. "If we don’t act, there could be serious issues for both state government and our financial institutions."
Most banks and credit unions don’t want to work with marijuana-related businesses and risk running afoul of regulators. As a result, working in the marijuana business is largely a cash-only operation vulnerable to violent crime and fraud — and a headache for governments having to process thousands of dollars in taxes paid in cash.
Reyes banded with 38 attorneys general in urging to pass the Secure and Fair Enforcement — or SAFE — Banking Act or similar measures. A House committee passed the bill earlier this year and it awaits a vote on the floor before it could move to the Senate.