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Press Release

Attorneys General Urge Congress to Pass Banking Legislation for State Marijuana Businesses

January 16, 2018

(Anchorage, AK) – In a bi-partisan effort to support a reasoned approach to regulating state-licensed marijuana businesses, Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth and 18 other attorneys general from across the country sent a letter to Congress today seeking legislative action to expressly allow banks to provide services to marijuana businesses operating in compliance with state law.

“Allowing banks to work with these businesses is good policy, which is why the concept has bipartisan support,” Attorney General Lindemuth said. “Most importantly, bringing the cash from state-licensed marijuana businesses into the banking system will alleviate the public safety issues that come with having to rely on cash, instead of depositing money in a bank. It will also help state regulators better oversee the new industry and go after bad actors.”

Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice rescinded long-standing guidance that outlined how strong state regulatory systems would protect federal interests and priorities with respect to marijuana and marijuana-related banking transactions. Withdrawing that guidance has generated uncertainty and confusion for banks and state regulators seeking to implement state law.

“Ultimately, given legalization of medical or recreational marijuana in 29 states and several U.S. territories, marijuana has become an area where states are, and should be, taking the lead,” said Attorney General Lindemuth.

Federal legislation allowing transactions to occur through the banking system is an important step to enabling state regulators to do what voters have asked.

Joining Attorney General Lindemuth in today’s letter are attorneys general from California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington.

CONTACT: Assistant Attorney General Emma Pokon at 269-5100 or

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