Linswritings

More problems with medical marijuana businesses

Posted on: September 19, 2011

As you may know, there are 16 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized medical marijuana. Colorado is one of them. As I mentioned before in one of my previous articles, that state medical regulators may face federal sanctions, now there is another dilemma facing medical marijuana dispensaries.

Banks in states where marijuana is legal for medical purposes won’t do business with dispensary owners for fear that regulators will target them in federal investigations. Federal regulators maintain banks which do business with dispensaries are supporting activities that, even if legal in the state, are illegal at the federal level.

In a memo the Department of Justice issued to U.S. Attorneys last June, the federal government made its stance on federal marijuana law clear: “The Department is committed to the enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act in all States,” the memo stated.  “Congress has determined that marijuana is a dangerous drug and that the illegal distribution and sale of marijuana is a serious crime that provides a significant source of revenue to large scale criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels.”

This wording was intended to clarify an earlier memo from October of 2009, which had given the appearance of leniency in enforcement of federal laws prohibiting marijuana. That memo instructed U.S. attorneys that regulators “…should not focus federal resources in your States on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.”

This recent intensification from the Justice Department in its intent to prosecute violations of the Controlled Substances Act is scaring banks away from opening and maintaining accounts for medical marijuana dispensaries.

As a result, medical marijuana dispensary can open a business but they can’t do any type of banking in their community. But dont’ worry Congressman Jared Polis (D-Co.) has introduced legislation into the U.S. House of Representatives that would shift regulatory responsibility for medical marijuana businesses away from the federal government to the state governments, and would eliminate the need for financial institutions to report medical marijuana businesses’ activities to the federal government. Maybe he should also introduce legislation about states having the right to stopping illegal immigration. Wouldn’t that be a novel idea?

Polis cites medical marijuana dispensaries as a “fast-growing” industry With the $7.34 million the state of Colorado has already received in licensing fees from medical marijuana dispensary applications, Polis argues that roadblocks to the success of the industry need be removed so these businesses can get back to “providing jobs and tax revenues right when our economy needs it.”

So now it’s all about jobs and tax revenues. The heck with the drug being illegal, all politicians want is more money for them to spend.
Will the federal government one day end the prohibition of this illegal drug?

Only time will tell.

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