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Illinois Treasurer pushing to modernize “outdated” marijuana banking laws

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The cover of Life magazine features a close-up photo of a man with a marijuana cigarette (or joint) in his hand, October 31, 1969. (Photo by Co Rentmeester/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

CHICAGO, Illinois-  Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs is pushing legislation to replace what he says are “outdated” laws, to help financial institutions that do business with the legal cannabis industry.

“The conflict between Illinois law on legal cannabis use and banking regulations has pushed Illinois’ medical cannabis pilot program primarily into a cash-based business because most banks and credit unions refuse financial services to the cannabis industry.”

Currently, federal law makes the risk of financing legal marijuana businesses too high for banks. This is because raids and seizures are extremely common and drug laundering laws still apply in these legal situations.

“Banks tend to take their cues from the federal government. Not only does selling marijuana violate federal law; handling the proceeds of any marijuana transaction is considered to be money laundering. Very few banks are willing to bear that risk.”-New York Times

“Legislation (HB 2980 and SB 2023) championed by Frerichs would prohibit the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation from any action that would penalize or dissuade banks and credit unions from serving cannabis-related businesses.”

Treasurer Frerichs will make his case March 18, at the James R. Thompson Center.

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