By Kristen Wyatt
The nation's first proposed state-backed investment bank for the marijuana business failed Tuesday after a fiery debate in the Colorado House.
Democrats and Republicans fell on both sides of the argument over starting a fund to legitimize investment in marijuana research. The proposed Colorado Investment Trust was promoted as a way to allow pot shops to borrow money and bank.
"This will legitimize this business, bring them into the light of day," said Republican Rep. Tom Massey, the idea's sponsor.
But opponents sided with another Republican who argued that because marijuana is federally illegal, and FDIC-insured banks won't accept marijuana money, Colorado would be wading into perilous legal territory if it tried to oversee marijuana-funded business.
"There's no way to get around this. ... You can't violate the federal law," argued Republican Rep. Mark Barker, who argued against the trust fund. The fund would have been the nation's first in which a state allowing medical marijuana also oversees business transactions rejected by federally chartered banks and investment firms.