Time to allow banks to be part of the marijuana economy

The Senate introduced a bipartisan bill on Thursday that would prevent criminal prosecution as well as liability and asset forfeiture for banks that do business with a state-sanctioned marijuana business.

Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat, and Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican, both of Colorado, announced the bill in a joint statement.

Joint statement. Har.

Last year, the Treasury Department said banks could serve the marijuana industry under certain conditions. Many banks call the guidelines too onerous, resulting in a marijuana industry that still relies heavily on cash. That reliance on cash rather than traditional banking methods has made marijuana dispensary operators robbery targets.

Marijuana advocacy groups lauded the new bill, citing safety issues involved with cash-rich businesses…

Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado, a state that legalized marijuana in 2012, praised the Senate bill, saying the federal government has a duty to ensure the safety of people as the marijuana legalization experiment expands in states across the country.

At the community level, banks considered the Treasury statement last year to be nothing more than window dressing. Unless laws and regulations are officially changed no bank executive is going to consider arrest or closure of their bank at the whim of some pissed-off bureaucrat. Laws to protect folks who aren’t breaking reasonable laws should be easy as pie.

The problem, as usual, is Congress. Federal laws passed from sheer stupidity, obstinate sophistry, decades ago.

3 thoughts on “Time to allow banks to be part of the marijuana economy

  1. Max Headroom says:

    “Banking for Pot Industry Hits a Roadblock” (NYT July 30, 2015) http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/31/business/dealbook/federal-reserve-denies-credit-union-for-cannabis.html “The Fourth Corner Credit Union in Denver applied in November to the Federal Reserve for a “master account,” which would allow it to interact with other financial institutions and open its doors to some of the hundreds of state-licensed marijuana businesses in Colorado. Although recreational marijuana has been legalized in Colorado, it is still illegal on the federal level, discouraging most traditional banks from working with pot businesses. The Fed’s branch in Kansas City, which has been reviewing the application, privately informed the Fourth Corner Credit Union earlier in July that it had not been approved for a master account, the credit union said on Thursday. The credit union, which has the backing of Colorado’s governor, fired back on Thursday night by filing a lawsuit in federal court in Denver against the Fed, demanding “equal access” to the financial system.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.