Target: U.S. Congress & U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
Goal: Amend banking laws to allow legitimate marijuana dispensaries use of banks
In good news for 2o U.S. States that allow legal marijuana use in one way or another, the Department of Justice has just released a memo stating that they will not pursue these dispensaries under federal law as long as they are well-regulated. In Colorado and Washington, the only two states where marijuana has been voted legal for all residents, as long as they are above the age of 21, this is particularly significant, as the marijuana dispensary business is exploding. Because this is a new business, the laws are still pretty shaky, and regulations are still being finalized. However, there is one main problem that has already arisen in the marijuana dispensary business – their lack of access to banks.
While medical marijuana or recreational marijuana have been voted legal in certain states, according to the federal government, it is still an illegal Schedule 1 substance under the Controlled Substance Act. The Attorney General’s Office released a memo earlier this year warning banks against doing business with them for this reason. They stated that accepting funds from these businesses could be prosecuted as money laundering, or even be seen as aiding and abetting a federal crime. This caused many banks to drop dispensaries as clients, and other banks to refuse to give them an account. Without bank accounts, these businesses are forced to run their business just like drug dealers – only in cash.
This isn’t about whether or not the federal government is in agreement with marijuana legalization – we know that they are not. However, as they have chosen to allow states to create their own laws, and 20 states have done just that, they must now follow through completely. Saying dispensaries are legal businesses but not allowing them banking rights is half-way point that in reality causes more problems.
Without a bank, businesses must do all of their dealings in cash. This puts stores and communities at a high-risk for robberies. Also, when dealings are only made in cash, the possibility that true records are being kept for tax and payroll purposes are much more slim. The government would actually benefit tax-wise if legitimate banking were used in order to ensure taxes were being paid. Dispensary owners trying to do the right thing by making their business by the books should be allowed to do just that, and have a bank account like any other business.
Sign this petition and tell the U.S. Congress and Attorney General that it’s already been decided that dispensaries are legal businesses, so allow them to use banks just like any legal business.
Dear U.S. Congress and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder,
Over 20 states have now legalized marijuana in one form or another, meaning that over 20 states have some form of marijuana dispensaries. As the Department of Justice has finally stated that they will respect state laws and allow the dispensaries to run as long as they are well-regulated, I am now asking your help to allow them to run legitimately.
As of right now, it is very difficult for owners of marijuana dispensaries to obtain bank accounts. Banks fear legal repurcussions of taking money that was earned from marijuana. However, seeing as though these businesses are legal now, banks should not have to fear these transactions. Forcing dispensaries to only use cash actually brings upon more problems than it solves. There is a high chance of robbery, and it is harder to track business numbers for tax and payroll purposes. Any other large-scale industry wouldn’t be allowed to run solely on cash, as regulation would be much more difficult, so why should legal marijuana be forced to?
Please consider changing the banking laws to allow these legal businesses to take part in the banking system. The voters have spoken, and marijuana dispensaries are a fact now in the U.S. today. While many still do not approve, it is the law, and they should be allowed bank access just like anyone else.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Chris Kemp via Unitedpatientsgroup.com