If the tax from the sale of marijuana is said to be the savior of our nation’s economy, then why are Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Chase refusing to work with medical marijuana suppliers who are operating in complete compliance with state law?
“We really have no choice as long as it’s illegal, especially illegal and unlawful activity as far as money- laundering is concerned,” Shirley Norton, a spokeswoman for Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America, has gone on record saying last month. “We’re not making a moral decision here. We’re really basing it on the law.”
Even though the Obama administration and Attorney General Eric Holder have made it very public that they’re going to STOP BUSTING dispensaries in compliance with state law, that isn’t enough to convince the major financial institutions in our country, the very ones responsible for creating this horrible global economic downturn in the first place, to help get our economy back on track.
Well , that’s all about to change, or at least that’s what 15 members of Congress are hoping will happen after they signed and mailed a letter last week to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner urging him to issue “written guidance for financial institutions,” so legitimate businesses can operate without the fear of being accused of “money laundering practices”.
“Being denied access to banking services, does not serve the public interest,” states the letter which was crafted by Representative Jared Polis, a Colorado Democrat. The letter was signed by our pot-friendly pal U.S. Representative Barney Frank as well as Representatives from Arizona, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin…all calling an end to the “increased risk to public safety with potential theft or robbery that any cash-only or cash-reliant business faces.”
“If states want to make it legal or not, it should be a state matter,” said Representative Frank. “It’s wrong for the banks to be told by Treasury they can’t service them the way they would service any other business.” and it is “an affront to fundamental fairness.”
According to our friends over at Americans for Safe Access (ASA) they’ve received dozens of reports over the past couple of years from medical marijuana providers in California, Colorado and other states who have either been denied financial services or had their existing bank accounts terminated with little-to-no justification.
Despite the notion that dispensaries are expected to pay sales tax, and in some cases a voluntarily inflated amount, ASA’s Government Affairs Director Caren Woodson says “While financial institutions may have valid concerns, the risk to banks is minimal, whereas their refusal to work with state-compliant medical marijuana providers jeopardizes countless people and delegitimizes lawful businesses.”