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Congress taking steps to allow Michigan banks to handle marijuana business money

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Congress is considering legislation that would allow Michigan banks to work with marijuana businesses.

Federal law currently prohibits banks and credit unions from handling money for cannabis businesses.

But the House Financial Services committee has overwhelmingly approved a bill to remove the prohibition in states where marijuana is legal, including Michigan. The two Michigan members of the committee were split in their vote: Detroit Democrat Rashida Tlaib voted in favor of the bill, while Zeeland Republican Bill Huizenga voted against it. The final vote was 45 to 15. 

Josh Hovey is a spokesman for the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association.  He says the association is “thrilled” to see the bill pass the committee with bipartisan support.

“Marijuana businesses in Michigan are working hard to create jobs and serve their customers and to pay their taxes,” says Hovey. “This bill is a critical piece to allow them to be treated like any other business.”

The bill is expected to pass the U.S. House, but its future is murkier in the U.S. Senate.

Nationally, medical marijuana is legal in 30 states. Michigan became the tenth state to legalize adult recreational use in November.  

While it is legal now for someone over 21 to possess marijuana for recreational use, commercial sales are not expected to start until next year.  

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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