Medical and recreational pot businesses have been facing an ongoing struggle with the banking system, often being forced to deal only in cash. Many banks in states like Oregon and Washington have been hesitant to do business with marijuana operations for fear of being federally prosecuted. In February 2014, the Obama Administration introduced new guidelines to encourage banks to be open to working with legally operating businesses, however these guidelines fell short of easing most banks' concerns. Colorado Bankers Association's Amanda Averch told NBC News, "This guidance is a step in the right direction, but it's not enough...We don't see that guidance as giving banks a full green light to bank these businesses. We feel the only real and lasting solution is an act of Congress."
A new bill has recently been introduced in the Senate called the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act of 2015 (CARES), which in part would allow banks to work with legally operating pot businesses without fear of federal prosecution. "Our legislation would provide an overdue update to federal tax law, which has not caught up to the fact that it's 2015 and Oregonians have voted both to legalize medical marijuana and to regulate marijuana for recreational use," Oregon Senator Ron Wyden said to the Washington Post in April. The bill has been introduced to the Senate, and is currently waiting to be voted on. Senator Wyden and Representative Earl Blumenauer are working together to make sure that legal pot businesses will have full access to banking services.
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