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Office of the Vermont Attorney General

Vermont Joins Bipartisan Coalition in Urging Congress to Pass Cannabis Banking Bill

September 23, 2019

Contact: David Scherr, Co-Director, Community Justice Division, 802-828-3171


Attorney General T.J. Donovan today joined a bipartisan coalition of 21 attorneys general urging Congress to pass the “Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act” (H.R. 2093; S. 1028), or similar measures that would allow legal cannabis-related businesses to access the banking system. Current federal banking laws, which reflect the federal status of marijuana as an illegal drug, force legitimate cannabis companies nationwide to operate mainly in cash. The STATES Act would bring billions of dollars of existing cash transactions into the regulated banking sector, subject them to oversight, and reduce the risk of crime affecting the growing cannabis industry.

“We need to create a regulated market for cannabis in Vermont — banking is a major component of regulation,” said Attorney General Donovan. “Action on this issue is long overdue. Passage of the STATES Act will empower Vermont entrepreneurs to engage in a transparent, regulated business and will allow the State to ensure consumer protection.”

The legal cannabis industry in 33 states and several U.S. territories employs hundreds of thousands of Americans nationwide and is expected to generate revenue between $50 billion and $80 billion over the next 10 years. Current federal law prevents banks from providing services to these state-regulated businesses, which forces them to operate almost entirely in cash and poses serious safety threats. The STATES Act would permit cannabis-related businesses in states and territories with existing regulatory structures to access the federal banking system and deter criminal activity.

The STATES Act has widespread, bipartisan support with 60 cosponsors in the U.S. House and 10 cosponsors in the U.S. Senate.

Attorney General Donovan is joined in today’s action by a coalition of states and territories including Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Washington, and the District of Columbia.

The full text of the letter is available here.

Last modified: September 23, 2019