Opinion: Congress must take action on cannabis banking bill

Massachusetts is among a growing number of states with legalized cannabis products for both medicinal and recreational use.

However, because marijuana is still classified as an illegal controlled substance under federal law, these legitimate, licensed businesses are unable to open bank accounts or access certain services — such as insurance policies — key to any businesses stability and success.

Fortunately, there is legislation pending before Congress to address this problematic discrepancy between state and federal law.

It was recently re-introduced in both the House and Senate and, just last week, the House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote of 321-101, with all nine Massachusetts representatives voting in support.

Charlie Baker has also expressed concern about the cash-only nature of legal cannabis, and joined a bipartisan group of governors urging Congress to pass this legislation.

The New England Council, the nation’s oldest regional business association, has endorsed this bill, and wrote to our region’s Congressional delegation just a few weeks ago to express our concern about the current situation and support for the SAFE Banking Act.

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