Jul 092015
 July 9, 2015

congress medical marijuanaSenators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the Marijuana Business Access to Banking Act today in a much-needed move to allow legitimate marijuana businesses to conduct legal financial operations. While the move sounds like a minor regulatory matter, the lack of clear financial guidelines represents the single greatest obstacle to state-legal marijuana businesses operating safely and profitably. Currently, dispensaries and other businesses in states that have legalized medical marijuana or that allow adult use must operate cash-only businesses because banking services fall under federal, rather than state law.

“Right now, it’s the Wild West for marijuana businesses,” said Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of LEAP. “Criminals know where the dispensaries are. They know the businesses are making thousands of dollars a day and that all of those transactions are in cash. It’s led to some horrific incidents, all courtesy of the federal government. They’re setting these businesses up to fail and, worse, they’re endangering people’s lives.”

Most dispensaries have had to hire expensive private security firms to set up elaborate safety systems and to accompany employees as the cash leaves the premises. Because of these precautions, many dispensaries, even those conducting large volume of sales, retain little profit. States are the other major losers in this scenario as the lack of accountability encourages the underreporting of taxes.

In the House, Representatives Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and Denny Heck (D-WA) have  introduced a similar  bill, HR 2076.

The link to this release can be found here: http://bit.ly/1Hm39wn

LEAP is committed to ending decades of failed policy that have wreaked havoc on public safety, damaged community relations with police, fostered corruption and racism, and largely ignored the public health crisis of addiction. The War on Drugs has cost more than $1 trillion dollars, yielded no positive outcomes, and has ultimately diverted the penal system’s attention away from more important crimes.

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  7 Responses to “U.S. Senators Introduce Bipartisan Marijuana Banking Bill”

  1.  

    In the Senate, 75% of the sponsorship of this bill are Democrats. 25% of the sponsorship is a Republican who bucks the vast of his party on this issue.

    In the House, 100% of the Sponsorship is Democrats.

    Bipartisanship!

    •  

      Uh, there’s 5 cosponsors for the Senate bill, and 3 of them are Democrats, so that’s just 60% Democrats. Admittedly it is bad news that they couldn’t find any Republican cosponsors on the House side (yet), but that’s probably because finding a non-crazy-asshole House Republican is today’s finding 50 righteous men in Sodom.

      •  

        My bad, I forgot the other Senator from CO was a right wing maniac who, like a broken clock, manages to get something right when his political future depends on it.

  2.  

    Fat chance that our RECORD-BREAKING, DO-NOTHING, REPUBLICAN CONGRESS will pass any legislation even if it benefits banks and public safety.

  3.  

    Is this bill going to the Chuck Grasserly led Judicial committee like the CARERS act?? If so, you can forget him ever bringing it up for a committee vote. It will just sit there….Grasserly is 82 and running again in 2016. WTF Iowa??

  4.  

    Totally unrelated to this article but I’ll put it our there anyway….does anyone know if the dispensaries are still being charged with Failure to deposit penalties because they are making their tax payments in cash instead of using the Electronic Federal Tax Payment Systems? Or has the IRS stopped since the Allgreen decision and the ensuing memo released by the IRS?

  5.  

    Don’t be too quick in lending support to this proposed legislation.

    Read the fine print carefully.

    As has become abundantly evident over the last 25 years or so, bankers are NOT your friends.

    Explore other options for retaining and reinvesting capital generated from cannabusinesses. For example, purchasing / storing tangible assets is one way to go.

    Any assets on account in a bank can be frozen without notice, hacked or otherwise stolen at any time.

    Trust these institutions at your peril.

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