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Judge Calls Last Year’s Federal Marijuana Banking Guidance Memo A ‘Nothingburger’


banking marijuana industry bankMarijuana businesses are largely boxed out of the banking industry. Most banks will not work with marijuana businesses because marijuana is illegal federally. Last year the United States Treasury Department issued ‘guidance’ on the issue in an attempt to help banks navigate through the rules. That ‘guidance’ proved to just create more confusion and chaos. The marijuana industry is massive, and growing constantly, yet it’s an all-cash industry right now (except for the lucky few that have bank accounts, which could get shutdown at any time).

There needs to be a place that businesses can safely deposit their money and experience the benefits of a regulated banking system that all other state-legal industries experience. Today a credit union (Fourth Corner Credit Union) argued before a federal judge about how the credit union was chartered by the State of Colorado, but that the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City has blocked the credit union’s access to the nation’s banking system, effectively preventing the credit union from working with the marijuana industry. The judge had mixed reactions, in that while the judge sympathizes with the credit union and marijuana industry, the judge isn’t inclined to force the federal banking system to allow access to the credit union. Per the Associated Press:

U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson repeatedly said he sympathizes with the struggling pot businesses. Jackson twice called existing federal guidance on marijuana money a “nothingburger,” meaning that memos from the Treasury and Department of Justice don’t solve the federal-state conflicts caused by legalizing pot.

But he seemed hesitant to order the Federal Reserve to give a pot bank access to the banking system as long as the bank is relying on memos from federal agencies, and not an act of Congress, to say pot shops should have a way to avoid dealing in cash.

“We think there ought to be banking and regulation. I get that. I agree with that. But that’s not the legal question here, is it?” Jackson said.

The pot bank’s lawyer argued that national marijuana legalization is inevitable, but Jackson retorted that the pot bank should take up its problem with Congress and not the courts.

“If I were in the Congress, I’d vote for you, but I’ve got to do the job of a federal judge here,” Jackson said.

I personally feel that banking reform for the marijuana industry is coming in 2016. I base this feeling off of a conversation I had with Congressman Earl Blumenauer earlier this year. Earl seemed confident that there would be movement on this issue, and so I am inclined to trust his judgement. Banking is a very, very big issue for the future of the marijuana industry, and if you haven’t already, please contact your Senators and Representative and tell him/her to do something about this issue.


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Johnny Green


  1. Closet Warrior on

    It’s a case of ask your mom, ask your dad tactics to insure no win. The Fed (Dad) tells the states (Mom) to buck up against mmj and recreational moneys while the states tell Big brother to back off their liberties. It really comes down to Rch, Uptight Republicans and Bankers blowing each other to establish and maintain a rigid “UNCOMPLICATED” system they can control in their interests, ie Rape, Pillage and Plunder!!! Damned be the liberals and democrats who’s voices aren’t as loud as they used to be, that’s what they think but we will eventually overcome!!! We’re becoming increasingly louder via social media and grass roots movements!!! “The seed and soil will end the toil”…Stay Natural

  2. Why not start a bank deposits and withdrawls only at first. When the laws change so does the bank. Basically it would be a giant safety deposit box for the buisnesses involved.

  3. It sickens me how there’s a double standard here. The Credit Union SHOULD’VE argued that States are able to bank the tax money they make off of this federally illegal substance. Therefore if businesses aren’t allowed to bank the money THEY make. The State should be precluded from doing the same!

  4. The filthy, lying, criminal banks that have been dirty for decades would probably be more comfortable and would feel more in control if you bring in this…loose cash in duffle bags and suitcases that had to be weighed with a scale like in the old days in Miami and the cocaine cowboys in the 1980’s. Even though that was all a long time ago I’m guessing they still long for the good old days and that…golden age of banking. Otherwise they’d know what’s the right thing to do. That they don’t or won’t speaks volumes…

  5. I don’t care for the status quo either in reference to banking laws, among others. My US Rep is a Stone Age asshole so asking him to change it is a waste of time. I’m old enough that I may not live to see all the changes I’d like, but I’ll keep using for my glaucoma until I get cold and stiff. At least I’m in a state which does allow (grudgingly, due to vote of WE, THE PEOPLE!) medical use.

  6. Sure they can do that. It’s called “money laundering” in case you haven’t heard that term before.

  7. Can’t someone bank the money in a personal general sole proprietorship business account for a different business using it as a way to bank the cash. This is a counterproductive and dangerous issue considering the cash involved. The fu*cking banks are going to make out on fees when all is said and done.

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