Pot shop robberies, deaths fuel calls for US banking bill

SEATTLE — A surge in robberies at licensed cannabis shops in Washington — including a pistol-whipping, gunshots and killings — is helping fuel a renewed push for federal banking reforms that would make the cash-dependent stores a less appealing target.

Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the third-ranking Senate Democrat, says she will prioritize marijuana banking reform that would allow pot businesses access to financial services.

Cannabis industry activists say Murray’s announcement is an important sign that the banking issue might finally be addressed.

Although many states have legalized marijuana use, it remains illegal under federal law, leaving big banks and credit card companies reluctant to work with the industry.

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