But California lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say they don't believe federal authorities have the resources or - aside from Sessions himself - the political will to target businesses and consumers in states where marijuana is legal.
There is a Congressional Cannabis Caucus whose members are from the states that have legalized recreational use and Representative Thomas Garrett, from Virginia, has introduced H.R. 1227 (Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act) removing pot from other Schedule 1 drugs and eliminating federal penalties for engaging in state-legal marijuana activities.
Since the federal government classifies cannabis as an illegal drug, banks providing services to state-licensed cannabis businesses can be subject to criminal and civil liabilities under the Controlled Substance Act and federal banking statutes.
On Tuesday, Schatz sent a tweet to Americans anxious about Sessions' newest policy, and noted that all Republicans in Senate voted for his confirmation. This has led to financial institutions rejecting these merchants, even if they are operating legally within state law. He says this creates a cash-only, "grey market" that hurts law enforcement and tax collections.
In the most recent statement, Williams suggests that Oregon's cannabis industry faces a series of existential problems from oversupply to concerns around public health and safety that may require additional law enforcement action, ("U.S. Attorney: A call for transparency and action on marijuana", January 12).
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Back in late 2015, we reported around 60% of U.S cannabis companies didn't have bank accounts for their businesses as a result of the situation. Introduced previous year by Colorado Rep. Ed Perlmutter, it would create a safe harbor for banks that work with state-licensed medical and recreational businesses.
What seems to have triggered this association was the decision by Pennsylvania to begin a medical marijuana program, with the first dispensary scheduled to open next month.
"Our banking system must be flexible enough to address the needs of businesses in the various states, while protecting the interests of the federal government", states part of the letter.
Eight states, including California, have legalized recreational cannabis. More than $131.4 million worth of tax revenue has been generated since 2014 to fund schools, mental health services and alcohol and drug treatment.
Enacting laws such as the SAFE Banking Act that ensure accountability in the marijuana industry would, "bring billions of dollars into the banking sector, and give law enforcement the ability to monitor these transactions", the attorneys general said.
"I think the feds would be foolish to go out and prosecute somebody like John Q. Citizen who invested in a business to sell legal marijuana, the legal way, not the black market way, and they go and arrest him", Tracy said. "We look forward to working with you as you move forward in this process and lending our voice and expertise as you develop legislation".