Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has joined a bipartisan coalition of 38 states and territorial attorneys general urging Congress to pass the federal Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (H.R. 1595) or similar measures that would give legal marijuana-related businesses access to the federal banking system.

Under existing law, federal regulators prohibit financial institutions from providing services to marijuana businesses in states where medical or retail marijuana sales are legal. Without access to the federal banking system, these businesses are often forced to function as cash-only operations.



“When a business is dealing strictly in cash, they’re inviting a whole host of problems,” Yost said. “No legal business should have to operate in a manner that provides little to no security in their financial transactions.”

Ohio legalized medical marijuana in 2016 and dispensaries first began selling it to those who qualify in January 2019. There are 32 states, in addition to the District of Columbia, where medical marijuana is now legal.

The U.S. House Financial Services Committee approved the SAFE Banking Act in March, and it currently awaits a vote by the full House.

With the backing of 38 of the nation’s attorneys general, the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) has chosen to endorse the legislation as one of its official policy positions. Historically, NAAG endorses less than a dozen policies a year.

The coalition of states and territories includes Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, the Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.