Treasury defends rules on banks, marijuana sellers

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Associated Press

Posted on April 29, 2014 at 12:11 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is defending the Obama administration's guidelines to banks conducting transactions with legal marijuana sellers.

Congressional Republicans on Tuesday questioned whether the guidance amounts to tacit federal approval of a drug illegal in most states.

The Justice and Treasury departments issued a roadmap in February that would allow the new businesses to make payroll, save money and pay taxes. The move enables the legalized marijuana industry to operate in Colorado and Washington state. In 2012, the two states became the first to approve recreational use of marijuana.

Kentucky Rep. Hal Rogers challenged Lew at a hearing, questioning whether guidance to banks on doing business with legal marijuana sellers represents a "rubber-stamp" by the federal government for a predominantly illegal activity.

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