WEED FEED / John Ross Ferrara / Monday, Jan. 22, 2018 @ 8:45 a.m.
Weed Feed: Attorneys General From 17 States, Including California, Urge Congressional Leaders to Legalize Banking for Pot Industry
The attorneys general in left-to-right right order as their signatures appear on the letter | Photos form Wikimedia and various government websites.
Attorneys General from 17 States, D.C. and the U.S. province of Guam sent a letter to congressional leaders last week calling for legislation that would legalize banking for cannabis companies operating in states where the drug is sold legally.
Twenty-nine states and several U.S. territories have legalized the medical use of marijuana. Among those, eight states and the District of Columbia, also allow recreational use by adults over 21 years of age. However, because the federal government classifies marijuana as an illegal substance, banks providing services to state-licensed cannabis businesses could find themselves subject to criminal and civil liability under the Controlled Substances Act and certain federal banking statutes. This risk has significantly inhibited the willingness of financial institutions to provide services to these businesses.
The letter goes on to address the the issues facing these states and their businesses, as profits from the marijuana industry soar.
Despite the contradictions between federal and state law, the marijuana industry continues to grow rapidly. Industry analysts report that sales grew by 30% to $6.7 billion in 2016 and expect those totals to exceed $20 billion by 2021. Yet those revenues often exist outside of the regulated banking space. Businesses are forced to operate on a cash basis. The grey market makes it more difficult to track revenues for taxation purposes, contributes to a public safety threat as cash intensive businesses are often targets for criminal activity, and prevents proper tracking of large swaths of finances across the nation.
The letter, also signed by Calif. Attorney General Xavier Becerra, proposes that congress should pass legislation that would provide a “safe harbor” for financial institutions that choose to accept money made by the marijuana industry.
To address these challenges, we are requesting legislation that would provide a safe harbor for depository institutions that provide a financial product or service to a covered business in a state that has implemented laws and regulations that ensure accountability in the marijuana industry such as the SAFE Banking Act (S. 1152 and H.R. 2215) or similar legislation. This would bring billions of dollars into the banking sector, and give law enforcement the ability to monitor these transactions. Moreover, compliance with tax requirements would be simpler and easier to enforce with a better-defined tracking of funds. This would, in turn, result in higher tax revenue.”
Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been leading his own mini-crusade against marijuana despite President Trump’s campaign promise to protect states’ rights to legalize the drug. Earlier this month, Session rescinded the Cole Memo, an Obama-era policy directive telling federal prosecutors to lay off states that have legalized marijuana use.
Sessions also faces a lawsuit filed by 12-year-old Alexis Bortel, who uses cannabis to treat her epileptic seizures. Newsweek reports that the case will reach the New York City federal courthouse on February 14.
The Weed Feed is a weekly column written by John Ross Ferrara.
The Weed Feed is a one-stop shop for the best local and national cannabis news.
Each week, original content will be posted to the page, as well as various other stories from around the country.
These aggregated stories are organized into six separate sections. The News (basic news), The Biz (financial news), The Life (features), The Game (sports), The Fame (celebrity), and the Grub (food).
The Humboldt Chronicles
- July 21 Show
- June 16 Show
- May 19 Show
- April 21 Show
- March 17 Show
- February 17 Show
- January 20 Show
- November 19 Show
From the Outpost
- Let’s Take a Closer Look at the Sun Valley Weed Grow and How the Supervisors Reached a Decision
- Supervisors Deny Appeal, Approve a (Downsized Again) 5.7-Acre Weed Grow on Sun Valley Property in Arcata Bottoms
- Marijuana Enforcement Team Destroys 1,449 pounds of Weed, Finds Evidence of Bear Poaching While Serving Search Warrants in Willow Creek, Sheriff’s Office Says
- The Fate of Sun Valley’s Weed Farm Appears to Hinge on Size and Smell
- Divided Board of Supervisors Punts Decision on Sun Valley Cannabis Farm to a Future Date
- County Supervisors Set to Consider Appeal of Sun Valley’s 8-Acre Weed Farm in Arcata Bottoms
- Enviro Groups to Sue U.S. Forest Service for Failing to Clean Up Toxic Waste Left by Trespass Cannabis Grows
- Entrepreneurs Unveil Plans to Convert Former Sierra Pacific Mill Into a Cannabis Compound With Eight Acres of Cultivation
- High Times News: Immersive Cannabis Experience Coming to NYC
- High Times News: New Mexico Expected to Run Out of Cannabis When Legal Sales Begin
- High Times News: Barcelona’s Cannabis Clubs in Limbo After Abrupt Court Ruling
- Wikileaf: You Can Now Bring Weed on Planes in New York
- The Emerald Magazine : Understanding Delta-8-THC with MOONWLKR
- The Emerald Magazine : Spreading Positivity with Nic Turinski
- High Times News: Canada to Reopen Border, Travelers Reminded Cannabis is Prohibited
- High Times News: Georgia Medical Cannabis Program Finally Revamps and Expands
- High Times News: Former New Mexico Police Officer Convicted on Drug Charges
- The Emerald Magazine : Say Goodbye to “Maskne” with LAMM’s Reverse Face Serum by Bodega Wellness