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New push to open banks to marijuana industry

A bipartisan coalition of House lawmakers is pushing to give federally chartered banks and credit unions legal cover to serve the rapidly expanding cannabis industry.

A majority of states allow either legalized medicinal or recreational cannabis use, but the drug remains illegal federally. That situation has created a legal limbo that poses severe financial and security risks for cannabis businesses who’ve been largely locked out from banks and credit unions.

Financial institutions chartered under federal law have been wary of serving cannabis companies over fears of landing in regulatory or legal trouble. Without access to basic financial services, some cannabis growers and dispensaries can only operate with cash, complicating their books and spiking their risk of being subject to crimes such as armed robbery.

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