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Banks Willing to Work With Marijuana Business, But Waiting for Federal Clarification

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director October 29, 2013

    Reported this week in the Daily Herald:

    Community banks and credit unions are ready and willing to provide financial services to entrepreneurs in the state’s new legal pot industry. But they aren’t able to, at least not yet.

    Marijuana businesses, even ones that will soon be legally licensed in this state, are considered criminal enterprises under federal law, which makes handling their money a crime in the eyes of the Department of Justice.

    Until the agency changes its outlook or Congress changes the law — and efforts are under way to do both — those getting into the pot business can’t open a bank account, secure a line of credit or obtain a loan from a federally insured financial institution in their neighborhood.

    Full Article

    Fortunately, there is already a bill Congress could act upon to resolve this issue. Earlier this year, Representatives Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) and Denny Heck (WA – 10), along with a bipartisan group of 16 other Republicans and Democrats, introduced legislation that would reform federal banking laws relating to marijuana businesses. HR 2652: The Marijuana Business Access to Banking Act of 2013 updates federal banking rules to resolve conflicts between federal and state laws and would allow marijuana businesses acting in compliance with state law to access banking services.

    Under current federal banking laws, many legal, regulated legitimate marijuana businesses that follow state law are prevented from opening bank accounts and operating as any other businesses would, which could ultimately lead to crime such as robbery and tax evasion in addition to the already onerous burden of setting up a legitimate small business.

    Please take a minute of your time today to utilize NORML’s Take Action Center to contact your elected officials and urge them to support this important legislation. You can do so by clicking here.

    10 Responses to “Banks Willing to Work With Marijuana Business, But Waiting for Federal Clarification”

    1. scott says:

      funny how banks test their employees for marijuana because its illegal, but are willing to sell it at a profit.

    2. ed says:

      Lets move legislation forward quickly.

    3. Galileo Galilei says:

      Bipartisan, pro-business, pro-weed; looks the the 21st century has finally truly arrived.

    4. phrtao says:

      Banks have always found a way to handle drug money. When there gets to be enough money involved they will find a way to exert pressure on the government. Also there is no way any government will allow an economy to develop that does not involve the banking establishment. Just another step down the road towards legalisation.

    5. Demonhype says:

      Well, here’s another thing the prohibitionists will fight tooth and nail. Because right now they have forty years of legislation and billions of dollars from forty years’ worth of Drug War profiteering industries on their sides. But once the newly legalized marijuana trade finally gets legit, there’s going to be a good amount of money put into lobbying on our side, which will continue to grow as more states legalize. And the pro-legalization side already has the will of the people on its side.

      @scott: That’s a good point. There’s going to be a lot of hypocrisy in the beginning, as MJ becomes a legal business. Your comment makes me wonder if at some point they might be one of the first groups to eliminate their no-cause drug testing programs, as at some point the hypocrisy will become pretty unbearable, and of course the newly influential MJ businesses might choose to take their business elsewhere, to banks or credit unions that don’t test their employees and fire them for using their client’s perfectly legal product in the privacy of their own homes.

      There is an area we could exploit to weaken the hold of the scam drug testing industry too, once this takes off. We could start harassing banks and credit unions about this issue, that it’s rank hypocrisy to accept the financial business of an MJ business but screen their legal product out of the lives of the employees. And once even one or two of those banks or credit unions stops testing, and if the MJ sellers take their business to those banks and credit unions, that could really start an avalanche.

      This could get very interesting.

    6. Denny Strausser Jr says:

      It will all come down to whether the banks want to do this or not. As mentioned by someone else, the banks could always put pressure on our Government to pass certain things through.
      Banks finance our Government, and if they were to decided to go the direction of legalization, then they too would put the pressure on. I believe it’s just a matter of time, until the next State legalizes too.

      My Two Pennies.

    7. carlos says:

      We have waited to long and made it this far. We need to stick togetert as one and make a differance in our generation the 21st century is here lets make a differance! !!!!

    8. brett says:

      the banks still won’t deal with it because they say it’s still illegal because they have to reschedule it from a schedule 1 which makes it a illegal drug and that’s why banks won’t deal with it until it’s rescheduled,last week the sea asked the dept of justice to do just that and they turned it down.it’s funny how the feds won’t let you have a bank account but they want your tax money and they can deposit it in there bank accounts{that’s ok}pretty messed up!IT’S TIME FOR GOVERMENT REFORM{GET RID OF THE OLD AND THERE OLD SCHOOL WAYS{THEY DON’T WORK ANYMORE AND IN WITH YOUNG FRESH NEW PEOPLE AND IDEAS

    9. Mark I says:

      Its the insurance companies that control that decision for legitamacy. Once the insurance companies are allowed to quantify cannabis as something with medicinal value, the dominos will fall into place for national safe access. The banks will no longer have to launder about half their customers’drug profits

    10. Deanna says:

      Has anyone heard of Colorado Springs State Bank? I am told they will do banking with cannabis business. I’m in Washington, but TRYING to get a legitimate business account.

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