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Bill in US Senate would allow banks to do business with marijuana companies

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DENVER — A bipartisan bill in the U.S. Senate would allow banks to do business with marijuana companies.

Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat, and Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican, both of Colorado, announced the bill in a joint statement Thursday.

The bill would prevent criminal prosecution as well as liability and asset forfeiture for banks or their officers who do business with a state-sanctioned marijuana business.

Last year, the U.S. Treasury Department said banks could serve the marijuana industry under certain conditions. Many banks call the guidelines too onerous, resulting in a marijuana industry that still relies heavily on cash.

Gov. John Hickenlooper praised the bill, saying the federal government has a duty to ensure the safety of people as the marijuana legalization experiment expands in states across the country.

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