Attorneys general want banks, pot industry to work together

20 January, 2018, 08:13 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • Dan Callister  Liaison  Getty Images

State laws allowing medical or, more recently, recreational use of pot have always been at odds with the federal prohibition on gun ownership by those using marijuana.

Following Attorney General Jeff Sessions' revocation of memorandums issued by Justice Department officials in the Obama administration discouraging some federal prosecutions of marijuana operations permitted by state laws, Connecticut's top federal prosecutor is offering no assurances to medical marijuana businesses that are operating in compliance with CT law.

Joining Attorney General Frosh in today's letter are attorneys general from Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington. "Studies show that when patients are able to pay in plastic and other means besides just cash your buyers will spend more at your business and it will be more fruitful". They included preventing the following: distribution of marijuana to minors; marijuana revenues "from going to criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels;" diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal to other states; violence and use of firearms; and drugged driving and "other adverse public health consequences". Additionally, law enforcement is less able to track potential financial crimes, and it is more hard for businesses to pay-and for the state to collect-tax deposits. "I expect, however, that the federal government will continue to focus their enforcement efforts and resources on combatting the gray and black markets and diversion, and not target marijuana businesses who abide by our state's laws". The bill is a reintroduction of the Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act, which was first introduced in 2013 - and again in 2015 - but subsequently languished.

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Cole authored what came to be called the "Cole memo" giving USA attorneys around the country "the latitude to use prosecutorial discretion" in pursuing pot cases in states where pot use had been decriminalized or legalized.

"Last week, a number of MA medical marijuana dispensaries lost the ability to take patients' debit card payments", Rizk said.

In recent weeks, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded Obama-era guidance that called for the department to de-prioritize enforcement of federal marijuana statutes in states where possession was legal.

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Mainers spent more than $26.8 million in eight state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in 2016. They argue that the department's decision has made even more urgent the need for congressional action to get the cash generated by this industry into a regulated banking sector. "This unacceptable and we will continue to advocate for safe, legalized access to recreational adult-use marijuana in MA". Public Safety Secretary Daniel Bennett, who oversees the state police, told the Boston Herald last week that they intend to enforce state law, "voted on by the people of MA".

On Wednesday, Mills said she has no objection to adult use of marijuana if there is adequate regulation to address the concerns she outlined during the campaign.

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