A statue of Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury, stands in front of the Treasury Department in Washington, Friday, Oct. 10, 2008. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Feds working on new marijuana banking guidance, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin tells Congress

Issuing updated marijuana banking guidance is “at the top of the list” for the U.S. Treasury Department, according to Sec. Steve Mnuchin.

“I can tell you we’re working on it as we speak,” he told a hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee Thursday.

The comments came in response to Rep. Earl Blumenauer, who implored Mnuchin to work with the committee to develop rules for marijuana banking and taxation.

Continuing to ban the emerging marijuana industry from traditional banking services is a threat to public safety, the Oregon Democrat said.

“There is this air of uncertainty about access to banking services,” he said to Mnuchin. “The Obama administration issued some guidance to allow banks to open accounts for people who grow, process, and (provide) retail sales of marijuana. But still there are many of them who don’t have access to banking services. It is a threat to public safety.”

FinCEN guidelines established in 2014 outlined how financial institutions should approach banking services with marijuana-related businesses. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Session rescinded that guidance in at the beginning of January.

It was critical that the powerful House committee act to “prevent the insanity of having this state-legal activity be forced to be conducted on an all-cash basis,” Blumenauer concluded.

Watch Rep. Blumenauer press Treasury Secretary Mnuchin on marijuana banking