Bill fails, still no solutions for marijuana banking

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Despite the backing of Gov. John Hickenlooper, a piece of legislation designed to create a sort of financial co-op for businesses in the marijuana industry lived for only 24 hours before dying yesterday in the Colorado Legislature.

"Because marijuana is illegal under federal law, financial institutions are reluctant to serve state-licensed marijuana businesses," reads the now-deceased House Bill 1398, which was pushed by Democratic Rep. Jonathan Singer in the House, and Sens. Pat Steadman (D) and David Balmer (R) in the Senate. "These businesses therefore currently operate almost entirely on a cash-only basis, which raises their costs, increases the risk of crime, and impedes the state's ability to account for these businesses' revenues."

As the bill's language alludes to, the updated guidelines issued in February by the federal government did little to reassure banks, with the Colorado Bankers Association saying at the time that the move "only reinforces and reiterates that banks can be prosecuted for providing accounts to marijuana related businesses."

Here's how the Associated Press describes the Colorado bill's demise:

"The measure was introduced late Wednesday and cleared a House committee on Thursday," wrote Kristen Wyatt. "But a few hours later, another House committee gutted the plan by amending the bill to say that Colorado will continue studying the problem of marijuana businesses having a hard time accessing banking services."

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