Despite any recent election disappointments, Bernie Sanders has not slowed down in the least when it comes to supporting causes he cares about, like fair and equal treatment for cannabis businesses. Most recently, he has come out in strong support of easing up on the banking regulations that plague the cannabis industry.
In a recent letter to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), written with several other senators, Sanders urged the network to facilitate cooperation between banks and cannabis businesses to ensure basic rights to banking.
“The majority of legal marijuana businesses, and businesses that provide services to them, are all but barred from participating in the financial system,” the letter explains. “As a result, many legal businesses are forced to operate in cash, which jeopardizes community safety.”
The senators pointed out that in addition to creating a hotbed for potential criminal activity, lack of access to banking creates issues for professionals who have lost control of their funds and resources simply for doing business with cannabis companies.
“This business environment is an invitation to tax fraud, robberies, money laundering and organized crime,” the letter states. “A large number of professionals have been unable to access the financial system because they are doing business with marijuana growers and dispensaries.”
Despite the fact that even more states now have recreational or medical cannabis programs, and the large amount of money that cannabis is bringing in, most businesses still do not have access to the basic needs like business checking accounts so that business expenses and employees can be paid. Even those who do manage to secure an account live in fear of having it frozen or canceled without warning. With the urging of political leaders like Sanders, the U.S. government will be forced to listen to the very real need for cannabis banking.