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  1. JustKeepSwimmin
    Eric Holder Just Announced A Major Shift On U.S. Marijuana Policy

    Jan 23 (Reuters) - U.S. treasury and law enforcement agencies will soon issue regulations opening banking services to state-sanctioned marijuana businesses even though cannabis remains classified an illegal narcotic under federal law, Attorney General Eric Holder said on Thursday.

    Holder said the new rules would address problems faced by newly licensed recreational pot retailers in Colorado, and medical marijuana dispensaries in other states, in operating on a cash-only basis, without access to banking services or credit.

    Proprietors of state-licensed marijuana distributors in Colorado and elsewhere have complained of having to purchase inventory, pay employees and conduct sales entirely in cash, requiring elaborate and expensive security measures and putting them at a high risk of robbery.

    It also makes accounting for state sales tax-collection purposes difficult.

    "You don't want just huge amounts of cash in these places," Holder told the audience at the University of Virginia. "They want to be able to use the banking system. And so we will be issuing some regulations I think very soon to deal with that issue."

    Holder's comments echoed remarks by his deputy, James Cole, in September during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill.

    Colorado this month became the first state to open retail outlets legally permitted to sell marijuana to adults for recreational purposes, in a system similar to what many states have long had in place for alcohol sales.

    Washington state is slated to launch its own marijuana retail network later this year, and several other states, including California, Oregon and Alaska, are expected to consider legalizing recreational weed in 2014.

    The number of states approving marijuana for medical purposes has also been growing. California was the first in 1996, and has since been followed by about 20 other states and the District of Columbia.

    But the fledgling recreational pot markets in Colorado and Washington state have sent a new wave of cannabis proprietors clamoring to obtain loans and make deposits in banks and credit unions.

    The Justice Department announced in August that the administration would give new latitude to states experimenting with taxation and regulation of marijuana.

    But with the drug still outlawed at the federal level, banks are barred under money-laundering rules from handling proceeds from marijuana sales even in states where pot sales have been made legal.

    The lack of credit for marijuana businesses, however, poses its own criminal justice concerns, Holder said.

    "There's a public safety component to this," he said. "Huge amounts of cash - substantial amounts of cash just kind of lying around with no place for it to be appropriately deposited - is something that would worry me just from a law enforcement perspective."

    Holder did not offer any specifics on a timeline for action on banking services for marijuana. Cole in September said the Justice Department was working on the issue with the Treasury Department's financial crimes enforcement network.

    Critics of liberalized marijuana laws have said the lack of credit faced by pot retailers was beside the point.

    "We are in the midst of creating a corporate, for-profit marijuana industry that has to rely on addiction for profit, and that's a much bigger issue than whether these stores take American Express," said Kevin Sabet, co-founder of the anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana. (Reporting by David Ingram in Charlottesville, Virginia; Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Steve Gorman and Lisa Shumaker)

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/23/marijuana-bank_n_4656145.html

Comments

  1. kumar420
    YES!!!! This is awesome news, I love this guy now
    Huge step forward, now total legalization really has a fighting chance now that they can finally fucking bank money and pay their employees like a real business instead of in cash like a drug ring
  2. JustKeepSwimmin
    Agreed! With this new legislation, the marijuana business can stop worrying about a multitude of different problems.

    No longer will state-sanctioned dispensaries have to worry about protecting all of their cash, dispensaries can accept electronic forms of currency, but most of all they don't have to worry about finding private lenders. From my obsevations, being that I'm an accountant by trade, banks have been eager to do business in the marijuana industry but have been very reluctant due to Federal law. Under the current legislation, if a bank were to get caught lending money to a business that specializes in marijuana, they will not only face criminal charges and penalties, but the money that was loaned can be confiscated by the Feds as "drug money". That is a risk that the banks aren't going to take.

    This new legislation throws all of those issues out of the window. State-sanctioned marijuana dispensaries can now operate like a legitimate business and will most likely THRIVE. A nice step forward for the pothead community!
  3. Alfa
    It would be nice if this will also affect Dutch coffeeshops. After all it's the US credit card companies which deny coffeeshops credit card processing, PayPal and other payment methods.
  4. JustKeepSwimmin
    Very interesting. I had no idea that Dutch coffee shops were affected by American banks refusing to do business.

    I need to read this legislature for myself, but I feel as if it would not affect Dutch coffee shops. Being that this legislation only covers state-sanctioned marijuana dispensaries, I don't think that the American banks would be willing to delve into the grey area of doing business with international marijuana businesses. Although there is a ton of money to be made, the risks would not be worth it to the banks. I could very well be wrong though. Like I said, I need to read this legislation for myself but geez would it be nice if the marijuana community could conduct proper business!

    I guess we shall see in the days/weeks/months to come...
  5. kumar420
    Greed will win out, give it a month or two. When the banks see the amount of green (no pun intended) flying around, they will play ball
  6. Medstudent27
    This is great news because it opens up another sector for legal job growth. Marijuana stocks (mjna, phot, cbis, and hemp) are all rocking and it's only up from here. It's only a matter of time until it is a completely legal in every state.
  7. JustKeepSwimmin
    If marijuana became a publically traded commodity on the market, that would be phenomenal! But I don't think that is going to happen any time soon. A global effort to legalize marijuana must be put into place for that to happen.

    I find stocks in the marijuana sector interesting. If a bank, or anyone else for that matter, were to loan money to or invest into a company that handles marijuana, they would be charged with money laundering amongst other things. I find it interesting and confusing that traders/investors can invest their money into marijuana businesses by buying their stock, and not worry about legal retaliation from federal authorities like the banks do. I need to look into this deeper....
  8. MikePatton
    Basically if the entire business is ran in cash without bank records, the state has no idea if that business is paying full taxes or not, so it's really creating a serious problem for the legislators who only went with this legalization idea because of the taxes they expected to earn. I also had no idea that Dutch coffeshops are refused credit by credit companies, that's just absurd.
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