New guidelines were released today by the Department of Justice and the Treasury Department that will allow banks to do business with marijuana related businesses. Part of the text of the guidelines are here:
"The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) is issuing guidance to clarify Bank
Secrecy Act (“BSA”) expectations for financial institutions seeking to provide services to marijuana-related businesses. FinCEN is issuing this guidance in light of recent state initiatives to legalize certain marijuana-related activity and related guidance by the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) concerning marijuana-related enforcement priorities. This FinCEN guidance clarifies how financial institutions can provide services to marijuana-related businesses consistent with their BSA obligations, and aligns the information provided by financial institutions in BSA reports with federal and state law enforcement priorities. This FinCEN guidance should enhance the availability of financial services for, and the financial transparency of, marijuana-related businesses
In assessing the risk of providing services to a marijuana-related business, a financial institution should conduct customer due diligence that includes: (i) verifying with the appropriate state authorities whether the business is duly licensed and registered; (ii) reviewing the license application (and related documentation) submitted by the business for obtaining a state license to operate its marijuana-related business; (iii) requesting from state licensing and enforcement authorities available information about the business and related parties; (iv) developing an understanding of the normal and expected activity for the business, including the types of products to be sold and the type of customers to be served (e.g., medical versus recreational
customers); (v) ongoing monitoring of publicly available sources for adverse information about the business and related parties; (vi) ongoing monitoring for suspicious activity, including for any of the red flags described in this guidance; and (vii) refreshing information obtained as part of customer due diligence on a periodic basis and commensurate with the risk. With respect to
information regarding state licensure obtained in connection with such customer due diligence, a financial institution may reasonably rely on the accuracy of information provided by state licensing authorities, where states make such information available."
Read the full guidelines here!
Mr. Capra is the COO of the DEA. In a Congressional Hearing he almost has a break down while he tries to reverse the national trend towards legalizing marijuana. Much of what he testified to is blatantly false. One example: "Every part of the world where this has been tried, it has failed time and time again". Is he talking about Colorado? Uruguay? Washington? Where has it been tried and failed? He also claimed that a dispensary in California used their dispensary to launder money from their meth operation. Everyone who knows anything about marijuana policy knows that banking is a HUGE problem. Banks won't deal with cannabusiness. The DEA is scared alright. They are scared that their asset forfeiture slush fund is going to dry up.
The New Hampshire House of Representatives became the first U.S. legislative body to vote in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational use. The measure passed a preliminary vote by 170-162 on Wednesday; it now heads to committee and then goes back to the House floor for a final vote before heading to the state Senate. Read more here.
The LA Times has weighed in with their opinion on California Legalization of marijuana and it's that California should wait and learn!
"One reason to wait is that California didn't do such a good job when it led the nation on medical marijuana. Look at the confusion that continues to surround the medical marijuana industry in the state. Dispensaries are legal in some cities, not in others. Cities pass ordinances regulating them, courts overturn the rules. Eighteen years after voters passed the California Compassionate Use Act, and a decade after the Legislature authorized dispensaries, the regulatory environment is still hazy."
The LA Times is such a contradiction. A reason to wait is because we didn't do a good job leading the nation with medical marijuana??? Isn't that a reason to legalize it and regulate it and show the nation that California can do things right? Let's fix it through new and better laws.
The attitude that it's practically legal anyway is ridiculous. Should we live in a legal grey zone where law enforcement gets to decide who they are going to single out and arrest/harass? The data isn't out for 2013 yet but in 2012 over 21,000 Californians were arrested for marijuana possession.
Read the entire LA Times article here.
One of the questions they have is "What is the rush?" Um, hey LA Times, have you heard about the Green Rush? The stores that started selling legal weed in Colorado are having a hard time supplying the demand. Prices have gone up and store owners are scrambling to build mega warehouse grows. Is California so flush with cash that we can ignore the fastest growing
The Times asked a lot of questions. Let's answer them for them!
C.A.R.E. will be participating in the Los Angeles High Times event by having another amazing RAFFLE!!! Come by and show your support February 8th & 9th at the NOS Center 689 S E St, San Bernardino, CA 92408
(909) 888-6788. More details here.
If you would like to be a sponsor or help volunteer during the event please email Susan@JustSayCARE.org.
The first 7 days of the year aren't even wrapped up and the numbers are already piling up. According to local Channel 9 News, "Pot shops did record sales compared to the medical marijuana days on Wednesday when recreational marijuana opened. Pot shop owners across Colorado believe they collectively made more than $1 million statewide". According to the Wall Street Journal "Colorado imposes a 25% markup using sales taxes for wholesale processors and store fronts, on top of other state and local taxes. Legalization advocates predict a revenue windfall, but that won't accrue if underlying pretax prices plunge." Read more here. The Raw Story weighs in with "State officials here anticipate that marijuana sales will generate some $67 million in annual tax revenue" Rolling Stone starts a 4 page article with "Legal marijuana in America is now estimated to be a $1.43 billion industry. And it's expected to grow to $2.34 billion in 2014. If those numbers hold, the 64 percent increase - a steeper trend line than global smartphone sales - would make pot one of the world's fastest-growing business sectors."
The Obama Administration has given the thumbs up for the states of Washington and Colorado to go ahead with their policy and social experiments of cannabis legalization. This is a big step but we need to make sure that the experiments go well. That's going to take education, outreach, and lobbying.
~interesting note....The DOJ website list 8 priorities that will guide the department's enforcement but won't allow you to copy and paste the guidelines on their document!
Susan Soares has written for Cannabis Now Magazine, Alternet, and Sensi Magazine.