As U.S. midterms loom, lawmakers on Capitol Hill push banking reforms for legal cannabis

United States lawmakers on Capitol Hill are pushing their Senate colleagues to pass legislation that would make financing easier for cannabis operations in the U.S.

Retailers and industry advocates are lobbying senators to support the SAFE Banking Act, which would provide long-sought access to financial services.

Sen. Jeff Merkley, a Democrat from Oregon, says retailers in states where cannabis is legal in some form are forced to deal strictly in cash.

He says that makes them prone to problems like money laundering, tax fraud, robberies and assaults.

Merkley told the story of an Oregon cannabis executive who had to pay his company’s quarterly taxes with a backpack stuffed with $70,000 in cash.

Canadian companies are also keen to see financial regulations eased in a country where the rapidly expanding cannabis market could exceed US$40 billion by 2030.

– The Canadian Press