Banks Get A Primer On Pot Money

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  The Obama administration, taking the first regulatory step to accommodate the country’s growing state-approved marijuana businesses, issued guidelines Friday designed to bring dispensaries into the banking system and end their risky reliance on stashing large amounts of cash.

The step was a cautious one, reflecting conflicting pressures on the administration.

On one side, many states now allow the sale of marijuana for medical or recreational use. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. said last month that law enforcement agencies were increasingly concerned about marijuana sellers who are forced to deal in cash because the banks’ unwillingness to deal with them prevents them from using credit cards. [Read more…]

Banking Marijuana Requires “Act Of Congress”

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  Despite bankers’ varied attitudes about legalizing marijuana, now that it is legal in Colorado, banks are supportive of government efforts to permit financial services for marijuana businesses. However, numerous obstacles prevent banks from serving marijuana businesses and their customers as they conduct legal activities.

Colorado can’t regulate or tax an industry for which it cannot track money. Public safety risks associated with cash-heavy businesses cause concern. And several federal laws preclude banks from serving these businesses, regardless of state law. Only Congress can resolve this. [Read more…]

Banking Marijuana Requires “Act Of Congress”

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  Despite bankers’ varied attitudes about legalizing marijuana, now that it is legal in Colorado, banks are supportive of government efforts to permit financial services for marijuana businesses. However, numerous obstacles prevent banks from serving marijuana businesses and their customers as they conduct legal activities.

Colorado can’t regulate or tax an industry for which it cannot track money. Public safety risks associated with cash-heavy businesses cause concern. And several federal laws preclude banks from serving these businesses, regardless of state law. Only Congress can resolve this. [Read more…]

Money And Marijuana: Still No Action From Feds, Washington's Heck Reports

WASHINGTON:  Washington Democratic Congressman Denny Heck today issued a statement concerning financial institutions and the business of legal marijuana.

Heck’s office reported: “It has been over a year since Washington voters approved I-502. Since that time, officials in our state have worked tirelessly to uphold the will of the voters and implement this law safely and efficiently. Soon, Washington’s regulated marijuana industry will begin operations.

“The hundreds of legitimate marijuana businesses that will open in the coming months will, however, lack one of the most basic tools small businesses need: consistent access to banking and financial services. These business owners are unable to utilize these services because of federal laws and policies which have not been updated to reflect changing state laws in Washington, Colorado and around the country. [Read more…]

Legal Pot States Banking On Thursday Secret Panel Meeting

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  Aspiring legal marijuana producers and vendors in Colorado and Washington state have a lot riding on a closed-door meeting today held by an obscure Treasury Department group, which faces some interesting constitutional issues about a “growing” industry.

The meeting in Washington, D.C., involves the Bank Secrecy Act Advisory Group, an advisory panel first set up by then Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen in 1994. The panel, known as BSAAG, evaluates issues related to money laundering.

In August, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department wouldn’t criminally prosecute recreational marijuana users and state-approved growers and vendors in Colorado and Washington, after the two states passed legalization referendums in 2012. [Read more…]