The secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department said on Wednesday that freeing up banks to work with state-legal marijuana businesses would “of course” make the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) job of collecting taxes easier. At a hearing before the House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) referenced recent comments from an IRS official about the “special type of collection challenge the IRS undertakes regarding tax collection from cannabis-related businesses forced to operate in cash only.” “Do you agree if this business were simply allowed to access the banking system and didn’t have to transact business only in cash it would make the IRS job easier?” Perlmutter asked Secretary Janet Yellen. “Yes, of course, it would,” she replied matter-of-factly. The congressman also talked about his bill—the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act—which has passed the House in some form five times now and would resolve the issue by protecting financial institutions that service state-legal cannabis businesses. Numerous financial, labor, and insurance associations, as well as key lawmakers, are pushing the Senate to attach the measure to must-pass defense spending legislation, as the House already has. Bipartisan members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, as well as senators representing Colorado, made the same request in recent letters. While Yellen’s response was quick, it’s yet another example of a federal official recognizing the untenability of the status quo.
Kyle Jaeger, Marijuana Moment, 12/01/2021 11:57:00