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Feds Seek To Legalize Marijuana Industry Banking


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  Feds Seek To Legalize Marijuana Industry Banking Posted by CN Staff on September 10, 2013 at 14:19:31 PT

By Pete Yost, Associated Press 

Source: Associated Press 

 

cannabisicon.gif Washington, D.C. -- The Justice Department and federal banking regulators will help clear the way for financial institutions to transact business with the legitimate marijuana industry without fear of prosecution, Deputy Attorney General James Cole told Congress on Tuesday.

The issue has taken on greater urgency now that Colorado and Washington have become the first states to legalize recreational use of marijuana. Currently, processing money from marijuana sales puts federally insured banks at risk of drug racketeering charges.

 

Because of the threat of criminal prosecution, financial institutions often refuse to let marijuana-related businesses open accounts. The problem occurs in states that have laws permitting medical use of marijuana. In 1996, California voters made their state the first to allow medical use, and 19 more states and the District of Columbia have enacted similar laws.

In an appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Cole said the absence of banking services is one that "we need to deal with" and that "we're working on it."

The congressional hearing was the first since the administration announced a new, more permissive enforcement policy. On Aug. 29, the Justice Department said it won't try to stop Colorado and Washington state from legalizing recreational marijuana use as long as they implement strong enforcement systems. Marijuana is an illegal drug under federal law.

At the hearing that highlighted the conflict between state and federal law on marijuana, Cole told the committee that "there are no perfect solutions here. ... We're at the point we're trying to find the best of the imperfect solutions before us."

Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said that as a result of the banking constraints, legitimate marijuana businesses are operating on a cash-only basis and "that's a prescription for problems, tax evasion" and other criminal activity. Cole agreed and said there is a public safety component to the problem because the cash-only business can result in the presence of guns.

In 2011, American Express announced it would no longer handle medical marijuana-related transactions because of fear of federal prosecution. A month later, Cole gave banks an explicit directive on medical marijuana that stated: "Those who engage in transactions involving the proceeds of such activity may also be in violation of federal money laundering statutes and other federal financing laws."

Leahy, who spent eight years as a prosecutor early in his career, said the Justice Department should focus on prosecuting violent crime and should respect the votes in Colorado and Washington to legalize small amounts of marijuana for personal and medical use.

Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the committee's top Republican and co-chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, said the Justice Department is "giving the green light" to an industry bent on breaking federal law.

Grassley said that Colorado has seen a sharp uptick in diversion of marijuana from Colorado to other states and increased use among minors.

"I understand the skepticism that you come to it with," Cole told Grassley. "We have reserved, quite explicitly, the right to go in" and challenge the regulatory programs of Colorado and Washington.

With the door to legalization open in two states, others could follow.

The 20,000-member Marijuana Policy Project says it will support efforts to end marijuana prohibition in 10 more states by 2017.

In a harshly worded letter to Holder this week, nine former Drug Enforcement Administration chiefs predicted that "when marijuana will be fully legal to buy, diversion of the drug will explode."

Source: Associated Press (Wire)

Author: Pete Yost, Associated Press

Published: September 10, 2013

Copyright: 2013 The Associated Press

CannabisNews -- Cannabis Archives

http://cannabisnews.com/news/list/cannabis.shtml

 

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Banks not dealing with legalize marijuana facilitiesPosted: Sep 10, 2013 10:16 AM EDTUpdated: Sep 10, 2013 12:15 PM EDT
 
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King County Sheriff John Urquhart flew cross- country from Washington. 
 
With one very clear message for Senators on Capitol Hill. 
 
Sheriff John Urquhart, King County, Washington, "You hear a lot about states rights. Well, this is where the rubber meets the road." 
 
Twenty states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana. 
 
Washington and Colorado also allow it for recreational use. 
 
Late last month the Department of Justice said it wouldn't interfere with those laws for now. 
 
But that hasn't resolved the banking woes, many marijuana related businesses experience. 
 
Danielle Leigh, NBC News reporter, "Most businesses simply take their excess cash to the bank, but many of these dispensaries can't even get bank accounts, banks don't want to handle the money because its coming from marijuana which is still illegal at the federal level." 
 
Sheriff John Urquhart, King County, Washington, "Anytime you have a cash-only business, I have to respond to robberies." 
 
Colorado dispensary owner Ean Seeb is dealing with that very concern.   He got a notice, this summer that his bank account would be closed. 
 
Ean Seeb, Denver relief co-owner, "It makes day to day operations of a business very difficult." 
 
Kevin Sabet opposes legalizing marijuana. 
 
He argues allowing dispensaries to open bank accounts legitimizes an activity that's illegal at the federal level. 
 
Kevin Sabet, Project Sam Director, "We are on the brink of creating big marijuana, and we have been fighting big tobacco for years." 
 
Sabet plans to tell Senators, the federal government should be closing dispensaries not offering more lee-way.

Tuesday afternoon the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear both arguments as Senators discuss whether to consider new laws that would ease the discrepancies between state and federal laws. 

Several bills have already been proposed in the house.

 
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  Feds Seek To Legalize Marijuana Industry Banking Posted by CN Staff on September 10, 2013 at 14:19:31 PT

By Pete Yost, Associated Press 

Source: Associated Press 

 

cannabisicon.gif Washington, D.C. -- The Justice Department and federal banking regulators will help clear the way for financial institutions to transact business with the legitimate marijuana industry without fear of prosecution, Deputy Attorney General James Cole told Congress on Tuesday.

The issue has taken on greater urgency now that Colorado and Washington have become the first states to legalize recreational use of marijuana. Currently, processing money from marijuana sales puts federally insured banks at risk of drug racketeering charges.

 

Because of the threat of criminal prosecution, financial institutions often refuse to let marijuana-related businesses open accounts. The problem occurs in states that have laws permitting medical use of marijuana. In 1996, California voters made their state the first to allow medical use, and 19 more states and the District of Columbia have enacted similar laws.

In an appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Cole said the absence of banking services is one that "we need to deal with" and that "we're working on it."

The congressional hearing was the first since the administration announced a new, more permissive enforcement policy. On Aug. 29, the Justice Department said it won't try to stop Colorado and Washington state from legalizing recreational marijuana use as long as they implement strong enforcement systems. Marijuana is an illegal drug under federal law.

At the hearing that highlighted the conflict between state and federal law on marijuana, Cole told the committee that "there are no perfect solutions here. ... We're at the point we're trying to find the best of the imperfect solutions before us."

Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said that as a result of the banking constraints, legitimate marijuana businesses are operating on a cash-only basis and "that's a prescription for problems, tax evasion" and other criminal activity. Cole agreed and said there is a public safety component to the problem because the cash-only business can result in the presence of guns.

In 2011, American Express announced it would no longer handle medical marijuana-related transactions because of fear of federal prosecution. A month later, Cole gave banks an explicit directive on medical marijuana that stated: "Those who engage in transactions involving the proceeds of such activity may also be in violation of federal money laundering statutes and other federal financing laws."

Leahy, who spent eight years as a prosecutor early in his career, said the Justice Department should focus on prosecuting violent crime and should respect the votes in Colorado and Washington to legalize small amounts of marijuana for personal and medical use.

Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the committee's top Republican and co-chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, said the Justice Department is "giving the green light" to an industry bent on breaking federal law.

Grassley said that Colorado has seen a sharp uptick in diversion of marijuana from Colorado to other states and increased use among minors.

"I understand the skepticism that you come to it with," Cole told Grassley. "We have reserved, quite explicitly, the right to go in" and challenge the regulatory programs of Colorado and Washington.

With the door to legalization open in two states, others could follow.

The 20,000-member Marijuana Policy Project says it will support efforts to end marijuana prohibition in 10 more states by 2017.

In a harshly worded letter to Holder this week, nine former Drug Enforcement Administration chiefs predicted that "when marijuana will be fully legal to buy, diversion of the drug will explode."

Source: Associated Press (Wire)

Author: Pete Yost, Associated Press

Published: September 10, 2013

Copyright: 2013 The Associated Press

CannabisNews -- Cannabis Archives

http://cannabisnews.com/news/list/cannabis.shtml

 

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The Banks or Bankers seam to want to know it they can be jailed for taking the $$$$

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The Banks or Bankers seam to want to know it they can be jailed for taking the $$$$

 

 

That's the BIG issue. Cannabis transactions, medical or recreational, will  NEVER be accepted as legal activities until those providers can walk into a bank and deposit that money. 

 

If bankers can be busted for handling that money, that means that cannabis will NEVER become legitimate. 

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