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Obama Administration Eases Rules, Will Allow Banks to Work With Legal Pot Businesses

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  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    The Department of Justice took the first step towards accepting the will of the people of Colorado and Washington by allowing banks to do business with state-licensed marijuana companies. The new guidelines, which were jointly issued by the DOJ and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, state that banking institutions who follow state laws will not be threatened with money laundering and other banking crimes. These threats have prevented banks from being able to loan money or accept deposits from legal marijuana businesses, which up until yesterday had to deal solely in cash. This has created massive security risks at these companies, who no doubt are cheering the new guidelines.

    The press release read, in part: “Now that some states have elected to legalize and regulate the marijuana trade, FinCEN seeks to move from the shadows of the historically covert financial operations of marijuana businesses. "Our guidance provides financial institutions with clarity on what they must do if they are going to provide financial services to marijuana businesses and what reporting will assist law enforcement.

    I applaud the Administration for finally coming around on this important issue. Attorney General Holder hinted in a speech last month that the Obama Administration was developing new guidelines for banks and other financial institutions and he has backed his words up with action. As more and more states get rid of this unjust and idiotic prohibition and enact sensible and compassionate marijuana laws, it is my hope that the Federal Government will finally come around to what the will of the people clearly says. It's time to end the Federal prohibition of marijuana and let the states decide for themselves. It's one of the few bipartisan agreements that democrats and republicans from all stripes have.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    I think that it will remain an uphill climb. The Feds have the ultimate say until it's reclassified below a schedule 1 drug. A recent news story discussed the legal sale in CO with a dispensary owner in southern CO. He said the majority of his customers were from Texas. Polls can say whatever but the mass sales and short supply tell the fact that the demand is high. We'll just have to watch to see where it progresses from here.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    I agree that it's an uphill climb, but so was the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment. Repealing a law is a million times easier than repealing a Constitutional Amendment. It may take a little while longer, but the tide has turned. What I propose is the typical Republican rallying cry: let the states decide. The Federal Government should remove it from the list of Schedule 1 Drugs, decriminalize it at the Federal level, and let the states make up their own minds. Some states may still move to keep it illegal in their states, but once they see how much revenue the states that have it legalized are raking in from sales taxes, they will eventually accept it as well.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    jaredsxtn Wrote: I agree that it's an uphill climb, but so was the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment. Repealing a law is a million times easier than repealing a Constitutional Amendment. It may take a little while longer, but the tide has turned. What I propose is the typical Republican rallying cry: let the states decide. The Federal Government should remove it from the list of Schedule 1 Drugs, decriminalize it at the Federal level, and let the states make up their own minds. Some states may still move to keep it illegal in their states, but once they see how much revenue the states that have it legalized are raking in from sales taxes, they will eventually accept it as well.
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    Good point. Tax revenues in CO are expected to exceed 100 million this year. Up from the original estimate of 67 million. The first 40 million ear marked for building new schools. If people are traveling from neighboring states to purchase higher quality (no pun intended) products... maybe revenues will increase. I recently read that stoned auto accidents are on the rise in CO. Of course it could be that is the opponents on the issue. They should counter by increasing the penalties for such an offense. Packages should say: Purchase and go home.
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    Tony ..."Purchase and go home."...

    Sure, people would obey those instructions just like no one drinks and drives.

    Tax revenues of 100 million! How much will the cost be for the negative effects? And there will be negative effects just like alcohol causes, gambling causes, harder drugs cause...etc. How much more will have to be spent on social programs for families broken up, homes and cars repossesed, jobs lost...etc.

    I know, I know, Marijuana doen't make people violent. But it DOES cause them to spend the rent money on dope, or (heaven forbid!) that Obamacare premium, which causes family turmoil...etc

    Too early to count the POSITIVES or the NEGATIVES.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    jamesn,
    I disagree. Reason is..... Marijuana was around two years ago, 10 years ago, 21 years ago, 45 years ago. It's not like some new thing that just came on the scene. It's not that new people are necessarily using it. The main difference is that all of the people who bought before are now paying taxes on it. Finally the govt. gets a slice of the pie. I don't believe that it will ruin society or wreck our infrastructure because 95% of buyers/users were already buyers/users. It kills the old fashion Marijuana seller. He's probably looking for a job now.
    There are intelligent people who smoke Marijuana and idiots that smoke Marijuana. If they didn't wreck their family and waste all of their money 5 years ago (when they were already using) then they probably won't today either. And chances are good that they'll maintain their jobs. Unless you want to believe the old gateway drug stereotypes. All Heroin uses started on Mothers milk or Formula, and baby food. Do you think they lead to the serious stuff ?
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    I agree with much of that. Smart people and idiots smoke it, no argument there. Successful people, and losers. Legal users and illegal users.

    95% of buyers/users were already buyers/users? Too early to know about that.

    I'm all for getting the drug out of the hands of the corner drug dealer, and regulating and taxing it. It's just too early to know how much tax revenue will be generated and how much negative effects will cost the state in increased social services, or how many, if any, new under age people start using it because it is now a legal product and how that will affect their lives. Plus how many people will die from stoner driving as mentioned earlier, and how the numbers will compare with before/after the stuff is legalized. Like legalizing alcohol sales in an area that has previously been "dry", there's gains in tax revenues but additional costs in other areas.

    It's a bit early to declare this a complete success. As with most things, it will take some time.

    I didn't mention gateway drug stereotypes, you did.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    If it's new users then yes, the ultimate costs won't yet be known. I would bet that over 85% of current users are former users. Thus, if I'm right, the cost difference will be negligible.

  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    You may be right, my point is that it's too early to tell.

    It will be quite a while before we know the good, and the bad things that will happen. I hope all the news is good, but my guess is that there will be some bad news, as well.