Federal marijuana bill would help pot businesses with banking
Jim Wilson / The New York Times
Saturday, June 9, 2018 | 2 a.m.
SAN FRANCISCO — A bipartisan effort in Congress to ease federal restrictions on cannabis, which President Trump said Friday he is inclined to support, would solve a few of the biggest problems facing the nascent industry in several states, experts say.
Most important, they say, the bill introduced Thursday — which gives states the authority to create their own marijuana laws — would open the door to banking for businesses by declaring that cannabis activities that comply with state rules do not constitute “trafficking” and their proceeds, therefore, are not the fruits of illegal transactions.
“It’s a really elegant solution,” said Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association, an advocacy group for hundreds of marijuana farmers, business owners and patients in the state. “It doesn’t go all the way, but it does alleviate some of the day-to-day challenges we face.”
The Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act, or STATES Act, from Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Reps. David Joyce, R-Ohio, and Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., would keep in place restrictions such as the bans on the sale of recreational marijuana to people under 21 and on employing anyone under 18 in a cannabis-related job.
The bill would also prohibit marijuana distribution at places such as rest areas and truck stops. By allowing states to control what happens with cannabis within their borders, the bill could also usher in new medicinal research into the drug. And industrial hemp, which can be turned into oils or fabrics, wouldn’t be classified as marijuana under the proposal.
“This is allowing the states to determine for