21 State Attorneys General Urge Congress to Pass STATES Act
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21 State Attorneys General Urge Congress to Pass STATES Act

The legislation would protect states’ rights to enact their own cannabis policies without federal interference and would allow state-legal cannabis businesses to access the banking system.

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September 25, 2019

District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine led a bipartisan coalition of 21 state attorneys general in urging Congress to pass the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act or similar legislation that would allow legal cannabis businesses to access the banking system.

“Forcing legal cannabis businesses to operate only in cash leaves communities vulnerable to violence and crime,” Racine said in a public statement. “Our bipartisan coalition is urging Congress to pass the STATES Act because it would allow those in the legal cannabis industry to access the U.S. banking system, provide long-overdue transparency and accountability, and deter criminal activity like robbery and money laundering. And, once Congress passes the STATES Act, I urge them to remove obstacles to the District of Columbia regulating its own cannabis industry.”

Washington, D.C.’s cannabis industry faces unique challenges, as Congress has banned the jurisdiction from spending any funds to enact or implement any law, rule or regulation to legalize or decriminalize cannabis, according to a press release announcing the coalition.

New York Attorney General Letitia James and Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford led the coalition alongside Racine, and the effort was joined by attorneys general from Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

The coalition sent a letter to Congress Sept. 23.

The STATES Act has picked up bipartisan support since it was reintroduced in April. The legislation currently has 60 cosponsors in the House and 10 in the Senate.