COLORADO: The federal government is stockpiling hundreds of “suspicious activity reports” that could provide federal agents with sufficient evidence to shut down any state-legalized marijuana business.
While it may appear that federal authorities have taken a wait-and-see approach to marijuana legalization in the 23 states that now allow medical or recreational use, these reports are poised like a blade over the budding industry should federal laws be enforced.
This risk of federal prosecution has led some cannabis companies to literally launder their money.
“You used to be able to just smell it,” said Jennifer Waller, vice president of the Colorado Bankers Association, speaking of the cash from marijuana shops. “But now they are using Febreze a lot, putting the money in dryers, a lot of different things to try to disguise the scent because marijuana has such a distinct odor.”
That distinct odor is considered a red flag by federal authorities who require banks to file a suspicious activity report for every transaction that might be associated with illegal activity, including selling marijuana, even for state licensed businesses.