US senators from both parties try to ease banking for marijuana businesses

Republican and Democratic senators on Wednesday renewed their drive to make banking easier for marijuana-based businesses in those U.S. states where the drug is legal, undeterred by signals from the Trump administration about maintaining tough marijuana restrictions nationally.

The eight senators, who spanned the political spectrum from libertarian-leaning Republican Rand Paul to liberal Democrat Cory Booker, introduced the bill to block federal banking regulators from somehow pushing a financial institution to stop serving a state-sanctioned marijuana business or the businesses’ landlords or lawyers.

The government would also not be allowed to give banks incentives to cut off the businesses.

While marijuana is legal for medicinal or recreational use in 44 states, the federal government still considers it an illegal and highly dangerous drug.

Under former President Barack Obama, a Democrat, regulators gave banks guidance on working with cannabis-related businesses and staying within the law. But the guidance intimidated most financial...

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