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House vote: Where pot is legal, FIs can provide services
WASHINGTON (7/17/14)--Marijuana-based businesses in states where it is legal should be able to access financial services, according to a vote by the House Wednesday. The House voted 236-186 to let stand a U.S. Treasury Department guidance on marijuana-related businesses, which clarifies expectations for financial institutions seeking to provide services to those businesses.

The guidance, issued in February by the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, specifies that U.S. Department of Justice attorneys and law enforcement officials should focus resources on preventing such things as:
  • Marijuana sales to minors;
  • Pot-sale proceeds from going into criminal enterprises;
  • Diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal to states where it is not;
  • Marijuana activity from covering up other drug trafficking;
  • Drug-related violence;
  • Impaired driving;
  • Growing of marijuana on public land; and
  • Marijuana use or possession on federal property.
Earlier Wednesday the House approved an amendment sponsored by Rep. Denny Heck (D-Wash.) that would block the Securities and Exchange Commission and Treasury Department from spending money to penalize financial institutions serving marijuana-based businesses in states where it has been legalized.

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