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NJ Senators: Marijuana Businesses Must Get Access to Banking System

Sens. Cory Booker and Bob Menendez say legal businesses that sell marijuana must be given entry to banking system

Sen. Cory Booker says businesses that sell even medical marijuana can’t get bank accounts, issue payroll checks or get loans, not even in states like New Jersey, where medical marijuana was legalized in 2010. That’s because federal law classifies marijuana as a Schedule I illegal drug and federal treasury officials might prosecute.

“You literally have people sitting on hundreds of thousands of dollars of cash because they can’t find places to bank,” Booker said. “It’s just not a safe system.”

His colleague, Sen. Bob Menendez said, “I’d like to make sure that we’re going through a transparent process that is legal — versus the other process where, in fact, that money is flowing totally in cash because it is unbankable under existing banking laws.”

Booker is sponsoring the Marijuana Justice Act, which would legalize weed and expunge criminal records for possession. Menendez is behind a bill that would establish marijuana banking protocols.

The New Jersey senators explained their approach to medical marijuana yesterday at an NJ Spotlight forum on healthcare issues. They were joined by state health commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal.

Read the full story on NJTV News Online, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.

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