September 2, 2013

Will The Federal Government Allow Marijuana Retail Businesses To Use Banks?

September 2, 2013

banks medical marijuana federal doj department of justiceOne of the federal government’s strongest tactics that they use in the war against marijuana is pressuring banks to avoid doing business with medical marijuana dispensaries. If that policy was applied to traditional businesses, I can’t think of too many out there that would succeed under such harsh conditions. If you can’t put your cash into a bank account, you don’t have many other options other than storing it on the premises or transporting it safely to an offsite location. And considering the federal government recently put a virtual stop to armored transportation services working with the medical marijuana industry, even transporting to an offsite location isn’t safe. But then again neither is keeping it on hand.

The United States Department of Justice recently made an announcement that they are ‘actively considering’ allowing banks to work with marijuana retail businesses again as long as those retail businesses are legal under state law. Loyal readers of this blog already know what I’m going to say – ‘actions speak louder than rhetoric.’ If the federal government was really willing to let banks work with the marijuana industry they would be doing more than ‘actively considering’ it.

What does ‘actively considering’ mean? It sounds awfully vague to me. Almost vague enough that it still allows a lot of room to keep raining hate on the marijuana industry as the federal government sees fit…I can’t see how the federal government would actually allow banks to work with retail outlets again, considering they just put the armored transport option on the attack list. People out there think that because the feds gave an announcement claiming they would honor state marijuana legalization laws last week that things have changed. I don’t see how anything has changed except some pretty statements were made with no actual movement in the right direction. It sounds like I’m not the only one that thinks these things.

According to Eastbay Express:

“Harborside founder Stephen DeAngelo said in a statement: “[O]ur joy is tempered in that the new policy does not specifically apply to current civil enforcement actions. For Harborside, that means we are still facing crippling tax assessments; seizure of the properties where we are located; and denial of banking, credit card, security, and armored car services. We hope that these and other federal efforts to impede our ability to operate as a legitimate business will be also be ended in the near future.””

As much as I’d like to believe the federal government, I think I’ll continue to feel the same way about their policies until I see some real action. Although, I will be ‘actively considering’ changing my mind…


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