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US banks cleared to take legal marijuana money (thanks Soros)
FT ^ | February 14, 2014 | Hall

Posted on 02/14/2014 3:13:13 PM PST by mgist

US regulators gave banks the green light to accept money from legal marijuana businesses but cautioned that they expected financial institutions to conduct “thorough due diligence” and report possible criminal activity.

The guidance from the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and the Department of Justice is meant to tackle one of the biggest challenges for a growing industry that is legal in a score of states but prohibited by federal law.

Banks have shied away from doing business with marijuana groups for fear of prosecution. Unable to make deposits or accept credit cards, many “cannabusinesses” operate entirely in cash, raising safety concerns.

The guidelines released on Friday state that banks can provide services to state-regulated marijuana businesses without violating federal money-laundering or terrorism-financing laws, a senior FinCEN official said.

Wells Fargo, the largest US bank by market capitalization, said on Friday it was reviewing the guidance, adding that “it is currently Wells Fargo’s policy not to bank marijuana businesses, based on federal laws.”

The guidance stops short of creating a “safe harbour” from prosecution, the FinCEN official said. But it extends the justice department’s stance, announced last year, that it would not prosecute marijuana businesses that comply with state law where the drug is legal.

“This is a very complicated and tough issue where we have state and federal laws that contradict one another. We hope through this guidance that we’re going to give more transparency to the marijuana business in this country and allow law enforcement to do their job,” the FinCEN official said.

The move may not be enough to reassure financial institutions, however. Banking groups say Congress needs to pass laws to get the industry on board.

“Guidance or regulation doesn’t alter the underlying challenge for banks,” said Frank Keating, president of the American Bankers Association. “As it stands, possession or distribution of marijuana violates federal law, and banks that provide support for those activities face the risk of prosecution and assorted sanctions.” Don Childears, president of the Colorado Bankers Association, said: “At best, this amounts to ‘serve these customers at your own risk’ and it emphasises all of the risks . . . An act of Congress is the only way to solve this problem.”

At best, this amounts to ‘serve these customers at your own risk’ and it emphasises all of the risks - Don Childears, president of the Colorado Bankers Association Twenty states and the District of Columbia have legalised medical marijuana, while Colorado and Washington have gone further by allowing it to be grown and sold for recreational use. ArcView Group, a cannabis investor network, projects the legal market will reach $2.6bn this year. Growers, retailers and the governors of Colorado and Washington have been pushing the federal government to pave the way for bank access, highlighting the risks facing cash-based businesses. In Colorado, where recreational sales began in January, dispensaries employ armed guards, growers bring suitcases of currency to pay state licensing fees and some businesses use pre-paid debit cards to pay their bills. Business owners were cautiously welcoming of the government’s move.

“It’s not perfect but it gets us one step closer,” said Todd Mitchem of OpenVape, a Denver-based company that makes cannabis vaporisers. “It’s bringing further legitimacy to an industry that’s at risk.” OpenVape had six bank accounts closed last year and another one shut down on Thursday, Mr Mitchem said. He hoped Friday’s announcement would prompt banks to take another look – and encourage Congress to change the law. “I’m not asking for federal legalisation today. What I want is [the government] to say to the banks, ‘do what you need to support legitimate business’.”


TOPICS: Government
KEYWORDS: banksmarijuana; cartels; marijuana; moneylaundering; suckers

1 posted on 02/14/2014 3:13:13 PM PST by mgist
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To: mgist

Won’t be long before its all kinds of drug $$ and drugs will be legalized. Cheap marijuana and heroin to keep the unemployed sheeple tranquilized. And lots of drug profits to help keep the bank bonuses flowing.


2 posted on 02/14/2014 3:15:19 PM PST by rbg81
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To: mgist

Banks were losing out on too large a pile of cash.


3 posted on 02/14/2014 3:15:41 PM PST by umgud (2A can't survive dem majorities)
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To: umgud

All the major banks have been laundering drug money anyway. They all have offshore banks that aren’t regulated.

it is all pretty ridiculous.


4 posted on 02/14/2014 3:18:14 PM PST by mgist (.)
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To: mgist
Yet *another* law being absolutely ignored by Osama Obama.The possession of a milli-microgram of marijuana is a Federal offense punishable by a year in prison (for a first offense) and two years in prison for a second offense.
5 posted on 02/14/2014 3:20:42 PM PST by Gay State Conservative (Obama: "I can do whatever I want")
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To: mgist

Pot laws in this country ,based on Reefer Madness, are moronic. Will it “cause” murders and broken families? Well yes by definition. These would mostly happen anyway. Is it a gateway drug? Only in the sense the reefer dealers sell the other stuff too. The war on drugs is a lot of the reason our country now sucks. This is exactly where Republicans have blended with rest of the ruling class.


6 posted on 02/14/2014 3:25:10 PM PST by rsobin
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To: mgist

Why does a business that “operates entirely in cash, raise safety concerns”?


7 posted on 02/14/2014 3:29:04 PM PST by Roland (We have met the enemy and he is us.)
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To: mgist

Why does a business that “operates entirely in cash, raise safety concerns”?


8 posted on 02/14/2014 3:29:27 PM PST by Roland (We have met the enemy and he is us.)
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To: mgist

America, once the greatest achievement of good in human history...

...to now. A pathetic, degenerate “dopehead nation.”


9 posted on 02/14/2014 3:45:41 PM PST by greene66
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To: greene66

Why do you hate freedom?


10 posted on 02/14/2014 4:00:04 PM PST by drunknsage
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To: greene66

We’ve been a boozehound nation for so long, the change will be nice.


11 posted on 02/14/2014 4:00:09 PM PST by Wolfie
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To: Wolfie

If nothing else it may put to rest the argument that it is a gateway drug.


12 posted on 02/14/2014 4:18:59 PM PST by refermech
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To: Roland
Why does a business that “operates entirely in cash, raise safety concerns”?

Because there's lots of cash and bad people like to steal it?

(See also Brink's trucks, liquor stores and 7-11s.)

13 posted on 02/14/2014 4:37:09 PM PST by Ken H (What happens on the internet, stays on the internet.)
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To: drunknsage

Defining deviancy down.

A nation of choom-gang druggie scum? To hell with it. A fag-marriage nation? I won’t be lifting a finger for such a country. That’s Obama’s America. It can burn to the ground for all I care.


14 posted on 02/14/2014 4:46:44 PM PST by greene66
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To: mgist

I’ve got zero problems with this.

If pot is legal, then profits from pot should be as well.

The key is whether pot is legal. Where it is, this is not an issue.


15 posted on 02/14/2014 4:48:51 PM PST by Cringing Negativism Network ( http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c5700.html#2013)
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To: Cringing Negativism Network

Any of it named SOMA yet?


16 posted on 02/14/2014 5:13:01 PM PST by bicyclerepair (TERM LIMITS .......... TERM LIMITS .......... TERM LIMITS)
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To: rbg81
Cheap marijuana

From what I'm reading the Washington State prices when the stores open later this year will be anything but cheap.

17 posted on 02/14/2014 5:19:40 PM PST by steve86 (Some things aren't really true but you wouldn't be half surprised if they were.)
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To: mgist
cautioned that they expected financial institutions to conduct “thorough due diligence” and report possible criminal activity.

Banks are cops now.

I'm glad I only have 20 or so years left. This isn't the America in which I grew up.

18 posted on 02/14/2014 5:22:11 PM PST by hattend (Firearms and ammunition...the only growing industries under the Obama regime.)
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To: greene66
A nation of choom-gang druggie scum? To hell with it

But you were OK with passed out drunks blocking the sidewalk?

19 posted on 02/14/2014 5:23:01 PM PST by steve86 (Some things aren't really true but you wouldn't be half surprised if they were.)
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To: steve86

Who says I’m OK with scumbag drunks passed out on the sidewalk? I’m all for seeing them tossed in the hoosegow for a couple of months.


20 posted on 02/14/2014 5:40:24 PM PST by greene66
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To: refermech

Ah, no.


21 posted on 02/15/2014 1:52:55 PM PST by Wolfie
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