The discrepancy between federal illegality and state legality has been an issue for dispensaries in those states which permit marijuana for many reasons, but most specifically, there is a great divide when it comes to cash and finances. In fact, the official terms would be “money laundering” or “aiding and abetting drug trafficking” when it comes to referencing the business of banks accepting deposits from dispensaries. While that still maintains true as far as the way the law works today, yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder indicated that things may soon change.
The government, of course, isn’t necessarily concerning itself with the inconvenience of the dispensaries in terms of the fact that they’re currently forced to operate cash-only organizations. While that’s certainly true, the reason that the government is considering lightening up on the laws for banks is much more grounded in the idea of safety (or potential lack thereof) because of the large amounts of cash that are lying around in these stores. Where large amounts of money are hanging around, the chances of violence and crime increase. It’s simple math.
Right now, it sounds as though the rules that are in the works aren’t necessarily intended to give banks a full-blown “go ahead” to start working with marijuana businesses; rather, it sounds as though the federal government will more or less take the same stance on the subject as it has with the states that have opted to skirt federal illegality and permit the businesses within their own borders. Basically, it sounds as though prosecutors will be instructed to prioritize other violations of the law above criminalizing banks that work with bud businesses. Only time will tell how long it really takes for dispensaries to have legitimate bank accounts and, of course, accept credit cards at their establishments.