|English: Official portrait of United States Attorney General Eric Holder Español: Retrato oficial de Fiscal General de los Estados Unidos Eric Holder (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Federal law prohibits banks from accepting money from marijuana businesses, so they’re forced to backlog their cash. Marijuana business owners who follow state regulations must pay enormous sums in taxes and have to secure their money as well as themselves for safety.
“You don’t want huge amounts of cash in these places. They want to be able to use the banking system,”said Holder at a University of Virginia discussion. “There’s a public safety component to this. Huge amounts of cash-substantial amounts of cash just kind of lying around with no place for it to be appropriately deposited is something that would worry me, just from a law enforcement perspective.”
If the federal government takes a hands-off approach to legal marijuana businesses as it has in Colorado and Washington State, it may attract state-level banks to accept legal pot money. However, national banks may still stay away because it’s still too risky.
Representative Earl Blumenauer, an Organ Democrat stated “if these businesses are unable to participate in the banking system, they have to operate with all cash, which invites criminality. It’s an important step toward fixing federal policy toward marijuana.”
It’s a tricky situation for banks because marijuana is still outlawed at the federal level and considered to be an illegal drug, therefore some banks may not want to take the risk. Although marijuana is legal in Colorado and Washington State, use of drugs of any kind should not be taken lightly. Many fear that the greater access to marijuana in these states will lead to greater marijuana abuse. Fortunately, there are many reputable drug and alcohol treatment centers that help with drug abuse and addiction.