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Inslee, Hickenlooper for marijuana banking rules

Staff writer ▼ | October 4, 2013
Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper called for flexibility in the federal banking regulations that will allow state-licensed marijuana producers access to the banking system.
Medical marijuana
Medical marijuanaWashington Governor Jay Inslee and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper called for flexibility in the federal banking regulations that will allow state-licensed marijuana producers access to the banking system.


"Colorado and Washington are in the process of implementing citizen initiatives permitting the production, processing, and sale of marijuana to adults for recreational use, in compliance with state law," the governors say in a letter together.

"Access to the banking system by these state-licensed businesses is a necessary component in ensuring a highly regulated marijuana system that will accurately track funds, prevent criminal involvement, and promote public safety. In order to achieve the mutual federal and state goal of establishing tightly-controlled marijuana regulatory systems, we urge you to issue inter-agency guidance that will allow legal, licensed marijuana businesses access to the banking system."

The letter was sent to Jacob Lew, Secretary of the Treasury; Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve; Martin Gruenberg, Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Thomas Curry, Comptroller of the Currency in the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency; Richard Cordray, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; and Debbie Matz, Chairman of the National Credit Union Administration.

The letter calls on federal banking regulators to provide guidance to enable the banking industry to offer full banking services to state marijuana licensees.

For example, the letter says, both states will soon be licensing hundreds of retail stores, each of which will, without a normal banking relationship, be forced to conduct business on an all-cash basis. "This creates an unnecessary inviting target for criminal activity," the letter says.

Enabling marijuana producers, processors and retailers to accept credit and debit cards, accept and deposit cash and checks, and pay third parties by credit or debit cards, check or wire transfer, would reduce the amount of cash in the system.

"Permitting normal banking relationships for state marijuana licensees would also assure a means of tracking the flow of funds, and prevent diversion of marijuana proceeds to illegal activities and to states and foreign jurisdictions in which marijuana remains illegal," the letter says.


 

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