House of Representatives Make It Easier for Banks to Handle Legal Pot Money
With the legal marijuana business in full-swing in two states, Washington and Colorado, the business has been better than anyone thought. In fact, according to a report by Marijuana Business Daily, legal pot sales – both recreational and medicinal-only – will hit $8 billion in sales by the year 2018. However, because the drug remains illegal at the federal level, legal pot businesses are left with the same problem every drug dealer has ever had: what to do with all that money.
Yet, the House of Representatives have taken a small step to address this problem. According to the Denver Post, they passed a bill “that bars treasury and securities regulators from spending funds to penalize financial institutions that work with legal marijuana businesses.” This does not amount to permission from the federal government to banks nor does it in anyway decriminalize the drug. Still, it is probably the best bill one could expect them to pass in a contentious midterm election year.
However, Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance spoke to the Post and called the move “what is right and what is politically smart.” Americans are increasingly okay with the idea of legal recreational pot, although some people still deeply fear the one drug which is both not physically addictive and has never killed anyone.
Legal marijuana advocates say that this is simply another step on the path to nationwide legalization, framing the debate as a “states’ rights” issue. This legislative victory follows another recent win for the legal pot crowd, a bill passed in May that prevents the U.S. Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Administration from “meddling” with marijuana businesses that are approved by the states in which they operate.
Still, this is a far cry from total victory. Marijuana is still listed as a Schedule I drug and remains illegal at the federal level. However a recent report from Vox.com says that because of increased scientific research and actual real-world models of what the legal pot business looks like, a current review of federal Marijuana policy might signal “the most significant shift in American drug policy” since the beginning of the War on Drugs.
Photo by Chris Potter via Flickr