Illinois Treasurer Pushes Medical Marijuana Banking Measure

Rob Hart
March 18, 2019 - 5:13 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The Illinois State Treasurer is calling on lawmakers to pass a bill that would make it easier for banks to do business with medical marijuana companies

Medical marijuana is legal in Illinois for qualifying patients, and Gov. J.B. Pritzker has proposed legalizing recreational marijuana and taxing it.

State Treasurer Michael Frerichs on Monday said medical marijuana was a $137 million dollar business last year. Most of it was done in cash because the one bank that did business with marijuana companies stopped over concerns about federal banking regulators.

Marijuana is illegal to the federal government, though several states have relaxed restrictions in recent years.

Frerichs supports a bill that would protect state-chartered banks that loan money to marijuana companies. With that protection, he says, some banks may feel that the marijuana business may be worth the risk.

An all-cash business is an invitation to theft, tax evasion, and fraud, he said.