The Justice and Treasury Departments in response to a speech by Attorney General Eric Holder, have listed guidelines for Banking institutions to handle the financial needs of State legal marijuana operations. Currently these businesses have to deal in cash. Because of banking and drug money laundering laws, banks have been unable to service these businesses.
Guidelines for the operation of marijuana businesses were already published earlier this year. All a State has to do is make sure it’s marijuana laws meet 8 simple parameters:
Preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors;
Preventing revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels;
Preventing the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal under state law in some form to other states;
Preventing state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover or pretext for the trafficking of other illegal drugs or other illegal activity;
Preventing violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana; Preventing drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use;
Preventing the growing of marijuana on public lands and the attendant public safety and environmental dangers posed by marijuana production on public lands; and
Preventing marijuana possession or use on federal property.
Banks have to insure their business customers adhere to these requirements and are required to submit documentation stating so and reporting their dealings with marijuana businesses. The directive can be accessed here:
The first paragraph of the Guidelines from Treasury reads:
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) is issuing guidance to clarify Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) expectations for financial institutions seeking to provide services to marijuana-related businesses. FinCEN is issuing this guidance in light of recent state initiatives to legalize certain marijuana-related activity and related guidance by the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) concerning marijuana-related enforcement priorities. This FinCEN guidance clarifies how financial institutions can provide services to marijuana-related businesses consistent with their BSA obligations, and aligns the information provided by financial institutions in BSA reports with federal and state law enforcement priorities. This FinCEN guidance should enhance the availability of financial services for, and the financial transparency of, marijuana-related businesses.
So there you have it! Kentucky can jump into this market as soon as we want. The Federal Authorities will not interfere as long as we follow the rules. There is nothing to stop us but ourselves. I would guess we could get our feet wet by allowing hemp production to go forward and passing the medical marijuana bill, that shouldn’t be too hard.
The Kentucky Health Issues Poll puts medical marijuana law favorability at 78%. The Bluegrass Poll puts it at 61%. Split the difference and 69 ½% of Kentucky’s citizens, more than 2/3rds, favor passing a medical marijuana bill this session! This should be a no-brainer for the Assembly! The session is half over. Think they will get it together and do the people’s will? With the session half over, we will soon find out!
If you favor passing a medical marijuana bill this session call the legislative hotline at 1-800-372-7181 and leave a message for all Legislators to support and pass a medical marijuana bill this session. You can call as many times as you want. Together we can get it done for the welfare of our citizens and the welfare of our State.