Treasury Secretary Yellen frustrated with stalled marijuana banking reform

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U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen expressed her strongest support yet of marijuana banking reform – and frustration over the lack of progress on the issue in Congress.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter, a Colorado Democrat who has championed the SAFE Banking Act, raised the issue with Yellen this week during a House Financial Services Committee hearing.

“It’s an important issue – and it’s an extremely frustrating one that we haven’t been able to resolve it,” Yellen said, according to the U.S. Cannabis Council and media reports.

“We’ve worked with you on this bill. We’re supportive of it.”

Yellen added that banks are “trapped” in the middle of the conflict between state and federal marijuana laws, and a legislative solution is likely needed to resolve that conflict.

In December, she expressed implicit support for marijuana banking reform.

The U.S. House of Representatives for the second time in its history passed a comprehensive federal marijuana legalization bill on April 1 that also would resolve the banking conundrum.

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But the Senate is seen as an almost insurmountable hurdle to federal marijuana legalization because 60 votes would be required for passage.

A cannabis banking bill is seen as more likely to pass in the Senate, but it has stalled.