Feds To Issue Banking Guidelines For Businesses Engaged In Cannabis Commerce

Federal officials are poised to unveil new regulations allowing for financial institutions to legally interact with licensed businesses that are engaged in cannabis commerce.

United States Attorney General Eric Holder announced the forthcoming guidelines yesterday in a speech at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center.

“You don’t want just huge amounts of cash in these place. They (retail facilities that dispense cannabis) want to be able to use the banking system,” Holder said. “And so we (the Obama administration) will be issuing some regulations I think very soon to deal with that issue.”

Presently, federal law discourages financial institutions from accepting deposits or providing banking services for facilities that engage in cannabis-related commerce because the plant remains illegal under the US Controlled Substances Act. While the Obama administration is unlikely to amend cannabis’ illegal status under federal law, the forthcoming rules are anticipated to provide clear guidelines for banks that wish to provide support for state-licensed cannabis facilities.

In Colorado, where retail stores began legally selling cannabis on January 1 to anyone age 21 and older, businesses were estimated to have engaged in over $5 million in marijuana sales in their first week of business.

30 thoughts

  1. so college students and housewives can get high, and banks can get rich. what about the working people who will get fired for testing positive for marijuana.

  2. There is no need for more confusing regulations ; simply re-schedule marijuana into the same class as tobacco and alcohol…. problem solved

  3. Bout time. All that dirty money banks have been laundering all these years gotta cost more money to hide than paying lawyers to navigate a DOJ endorsed legal marijuana industry. DEA agents defecting for marijuana stock options in Marijuana Investment Firms oughtta help tip the odds stacked in our favor.
    There sure is a lot of big marijuana talk going around. Rick Perry was in Switzerland yesterday acting like he opened the doors for decriminalization in Texas. Is that the Republican agenda? Talk pro marijuana and donate a little to pro-mj think tanks then turn around and veto everything? Is that why 90,000 Texans are still arrested for small posessions every year?
    Meanwhile the Texas Democratic party endorsed decriminalization last summer and the Wendy Davis campaign already has outfunded the GOP race for Greg Abbot. Now that’s what I call “grass” roots organization.
    Actions speak louder than words, Governor Perry. The whole world is watching.

  4. This is a step in the right direction, No one is safe from losing there job until it is legal across the board. Let’s all support NORML for there outstanding performance.

  5. Let’s hope these guidelines prove workable and not an impediment to the nascent businesses.

    Last weekend I saw on CSPAN a hearing chaired by none other than Congress persons Feinstein and Grassman. It was the same old crap we’ve been seeing for decades, with erstwhile assurances from all involved that the country would regret reform in the future.

    One DEA guy said some Meth syndicate was even using a weed shop to launder money. Of course, they didn’t see this as an indication some guidelines were needed. All they saw was the need to spend more money to keep themselves employed in a never ending war on their fellow Americans and make the cartels even richer and more powerful than the drug was has made them already.

  6. Lets analyze our position, the government found a way to allow the legalization of Marijuana in Colorado and Washington and now they see the $$$$ and want their share because cash is hard to trace and tax. Remember “NO TAXATION WITH OUT REPRESENTATION”

  7. This is great news!

    I’m hoping I don’t regret having prematurely thanked you, Mr. President, Mr. Holder.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    As someone who has been battling cancer, I want cures for all kinds of cancer and I don’t want cannabis written off in Schedule I as not having any medical benefit. Extensive research should have been done before it was scheduled, and after the Shafer Commission’s report would have been the time to engage in researching it. Does it hold or lead the way to cures? It certainly is better to relax than using alcohol, especially if the kind of cancer you had has left the person with bladder or incontinence issues. This will pave the way to reducing the number of poor people, people of color if you will, getting put unnecessarily through the sausage grinder criminal justice system.

    Thank you, Barry. I’m glad I voted for you, twice.

  8. I’m hoping that the guidelines will include keeping the IRS from going after the cannabis community simply because it can. When I stated calling off the federal dawgz, I meant just that.

    I hope Pennsylvania gets its act together and legalizes cannabis so that my quality of life and the possibility of cures are closer to me. If the feds are staying out of it then more states should legalize, more states in the news than already as planning to legalize. It’s the right thing to do.

  9. “The rules are not expected to give banks a green light to accept deposits and provide other services, but would tell prosecutors not to prioritize cases involving legal marijuana businesses that use banks.”

    I’m hope for the business owners that’s enough for the banks to be interested in dealing with them.

  10. All Eric Holder has to say is that the DOJ will not prosecute banks for aiding and abetting marijuana businesses. Green light go.

  11. I second the Oracle’s statement: this is GREAT news! Slowly but surely our side is moving forward here, clearing some of the remaining hurdles. I know it’s too early to celebrate complete victory, but, I think, this goes a LONG way in helping our cause. We have to keep it moving.

    One of the state Reps in my state, NM, is proposing legislation to recreationally legalize MJ. I called his office this week, and was told by his aide that the best way to help was to call other state reps and urge legalization. I will do that next week.

  12. It seems that what Obama is doing is trying to keep marijuana a felony at the federal level, while slackening these legal ropes on states to keep people from demanding that it be reclassified into Schedule II or III.

    This is very bad news because it changes nothing, and the Feds could come back full bore at any time in the future. Demand that Obama order the DEA to reclassify marijuana according to medical science.

  13. Cannabis appears to be a nontoxic and nutritive annual. If true, then consideration towards classification as a vegetable could seem appropriate. Legalization, and use of as much of the plant as is reasonably plausible will negatively impact a slew of interests in business and industry. Be aware, spread the word, and plant those seeds please, thank you.

  14. Michele Leonhart makes the DEA look like it’s run by second graders. Why is she still there?

    Our president needs to cut some of the dead weight at the DEA, hanging on for their jobs. Spend that money on ending racism in America not a racist prohibition law from the early 1930s. Or is the government going to start arresting middle aged, white cancer patients?

    It’s time to restructure the DEA they haven’t worked right for 80 years. Marijuana is the drug of peace and happiness, it is not worth fighting the will of the people on this one.

    Shout out to Eric Holder, but the cash still needs to be removed from marijuana sales. It only creates an opportunity for criminals to make problems. Use the banks and remove the cash before bitcoin takes your (our) money out of the USA.

  15. @TheOracle,

    Can’t you see that you’re still of the hook? Like a clever fisherman, Obama is simply letting out the line so that you don’t snap it and actually get free!

    And while the DEA agends are busy putting lipstick on all of their rottweilers, they’re also target shooting and training on when it’s acceptable to kill you for possessing a plant.

  16. Actually Az has in its law that if you are a legal mmj patient and you test hot at work you cannot be fired. It is the only state with any such protection at this time.

  17. Maybe its worng to feel this way but until the rescheduling of cannabis , are we not still under the law-o-mighty?

    I just hope our system isnt on a downhill slide of deception from our government….If you are willing to accept that cannabis is less harmful then alcohol, Mr President, then why not over ride Nixon’s decission to allow cannabis to stay a controled substance.

    I’ve heard that Marlboro is now investing itself in the cannabis trade……so is this why the banks are going to be allowed to Participate , because of corporate America?

    Dont get me wrong I know to make things work you need dedication…….the people
    and money……..coporate America
    SO with this now in line for a fair system of trade are we….the common people going to be able to apply for a business loan to get on board with recreational cannabis industy….
    I know we will never be able to compete with the larger corporation but we should still be allowed to have a piece of the dream …..which is to be set free from the thumb, work for ourselves….and enjoy what little time we have to actually live……

    SO if it’s safer Mr. President , should not you allow it to be rescheduled so the great people of this country can prosper and have some kind of re start in this crap bowl economy we have to deal with now…….People need something to look foward to and a chance to help rebuild is a step in the right direction……

    as always
    thanks for reading

  18. @Ray
    Still love your idea of passing out weed leaf props at the Smok-a-Bowl (giant green foam gloves in shape of a weed leaf? Or I guess the colors of the teams would sell… Woops, wrong blog! I just gotta call Jersey Norml…)
    Soooo, to get to THIS blog, (sorry, its smok-a-bowl fever… Curable only by watching The Denver Chroncos play the Seattle SeaWeeds)…
    What was I going to respond to you about Ray? Oh yeah, the DEA is about 41 years old. They were unconstitutionally organized in 1973 under Nixon’s Controlled Substances Act of 1970 by Congress after Nixon was reelected on the “Drugs:Public enemy number one” campaign. The drug budget in 1972 now prioritized drug enforcement over drug treatment. The Constitution broke into a police state when our legislative branch gave legislative drug policy authority over to the executive branch, (specifically the DEA under the DOJ under the Commander in Chief, the President).
    Nixon and his attorney general knew what they were doing was not only unconstitutional, but that a botched DEA raid from the asset forfeiture amendment or a gun sale to contrived wars all over the world would eventually blow up in the press so they amended “executive privilege” to protect the presidency from disclosing evidence in a scandal. Every U.S. President has used executive privelege ever since, including Obama, who used it during The Fast and Furious scandal a few years back. (ATF selling weapons to both sides of warring Mexican cartels under the Calderón administration got a DEA agent… And thousands of Mexicans and immigrants… Killed for profit off of weapons we taxpayers paid for).
    The irony here for president Obama is the C.S.Act gives him the authority to deschedule the drug scheduling system.
    In 1994, the DEA went further than ever into breaking our constitutional right to a fair trial and formed the Special Operations Division, otherwise known as the SOD evidence fabrication program. You might be familiar with the old state policeman tactic of “Sir, I pulled you over for a dirty license pl… Hey, what do you know? Its the FEDS, and they just HAPPEN to have drug dogs with them.” But the SOD program goes so much farther to recreate fake evidence trails to say the investigation started from a traffick ticket when in fact the DEA was using unwarranted tapped wires from NSA data. The DEA have their own data system to deny to Congress their use of NSA data, but the SOD program is briefly mentioned in the DEA budget, so Congress and the Presidency are guilty to too. The program allegedly began to target foreign nationals and poor Colombian FARC rebels who were cutting into CIA controlled drug territory.

    The DEA confiscate passports from local immigrants to turn them into cash cow informants. I know a guy they’ve done this to. They bust them for small posession, issue them a J visa from the DOJ that nit even the State Department knows about, and says “youre legal as long as you work for us, lose your wife and rusk your life busting all your friends… And these dangerous guys who are cimung to your house at 2 am, but dont tell your wife anything.”
    But of course, the worst imaginable will happen from a rogue agency and state sponsored cartel: The DEA targets American citizens with the SOD program EVERY DAY. CPS and IRS agents get $5,000 kickbacks for closing contrived drug cases. The problem is compounded by private Prison owners, adolescent detention centers, drug rehabs and even private foster care networks that pay off judges, keep drug defenders in the dark by covering up evidence and basically purchase the justice system using state and federal prison and foster care tax dollars. State custody of children should ONLY occur when the childs life is in immediate danger. Breaking up families for pissing mariuana is downright evil.
    And the DEA calls marijuana legalization, “reckless and irresponsible”!
    Their days are numbered. I can’t wait for the Freedom Bowl. Eat yer heart out Michelle Leonhart, America isnt afraid anymore.
    Hey, DEA agents! You can still save your soul! Maybe you could join LEAP or a marijuana investment firm!

  19. I’ve been having to go without my medicine in the state where I live.

    Things are going according to plan toward legalization. Obama is doing what he can without out creating a backlash that would cause a big scene and have Congress block any progress. We know what we’re doing. True, the dawgz could still be coming after the cannabis community. Change comes slowly with baby steps.

  20. @Julian: All I’ll be thinking about when watching the game is a giant marijuana leaf foam finger, thank you for the great chuckle.

    It’s crazy how this war on drugs came about, and it’s sad that this system of laws ever chose drug enforcement over drug treatment.

  21. Repeal the U. S. Controlled Substance Act…
    Respect science, not the psudo-science resulting from the govt manipulation of research funding.
    Respect a patient’s rights to do their own healthcare experimentation, not restrict it to the healthcare industry that is killing millions to protect profits.

  22. Why does money have to be involved? its not real like cannabis. We need to stop calling cannabis (marijuana).

  23. On anouther note. Could the banks or gov instill a program at the recycling centers an salvage yards of America (to buy all old batteries from all appliances aaa any size or shape by weight.)this would help to prevent a lot of future damages. Oh an soup sold in standard 12 ounce soda cans so I can eat at the venders even after store hours.

  24. “The irony here for president Obama is the C.S.Act gives him the authority to deschedule the drug scheduling system.”

    And everyday Obama and Biden drag their feet, they are greenlighting further abuse of marijuana users on a national level by all law enforcement. Keeping this bullshit going serves no purpose other than, “Smack my stoners up.” So I ask prohibitionists “Did you kick the dog? Were you beat with a strap? were you really abused? Or were you faking all that? Too Tense!”

  25. Why do thing Obama hasn’t already done this? The Federal Government has become fat and lazy. Our CIA develops problems and Wars Without End almost as much as they help; with their net worth being near to zero.

    Our nuclear program is crumbling–dozens of officers cheating their way into it. Dozens of other cheaters in other parts of our military. Our military has suffered greatly under NEOCON influence, they are literally rotting from the inside out. Sure we have a lot of great soldiers, and they shouldn’t have to worry about being raped by their fellow soldiers!!! What is a military without discipline? Sitting targets victimizing the people they are supposed to by protecting and each other.

    Drugs and drug money have helped this process with large amount of our military expenditures going to program like DEA so they can act their fellow Americans instead of the money going to our military so they can be ready to protect us… Pissing our wealth away on hurting each other.

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