Marijuana: Wanda James on closure of edibles business, MMJ banking, Obama and more


hickenloopernewish.jpg
John Hickenlooper.
She feels much the same about Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, who last month released a statement opposing Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, that stuck in her craw.

"I've raised money for him, too," James notes. "And for him to say, 'I don't want Colorado known for marijuana because it's not good for kids....' What about the 100,000 patients, or the 6,000 people who have jobs in this industry? I'm tired of this kind of hypocrisy, especially from a man who brewed beer for a living -- and from a black man we know smoked pot. The only difference between [Obama] and the black and brown boys who've been arrested for smoking marijuana is that he didn't get caught. That's hypocrisy, too, and I don't care if you're a Democrat or a Republican: I'm calling you on it."

Given her passion on this subject, James doesn't want to be guilty of hypocrisy herself. Yet that was the position she was in regarding banking, she believes.

"We'd been with our bank for numerous years for all of our businesses," she points out. "But then we got a letter stating that they were closing our account on July 17. We went back and forth with all the different things happening, but in the end, we realized the only way to get a bank account now is to lie. Just about everybody has one, but the only way they can do it is to put it under a different business category, like 'wellness center' or 'massage center' or whatever. And I just couldn't do that.

"To me, this is a political statement. As an industry, we employ thousands of people and bring the state millions in taxes and fees. We are a legal business. So why do I have to lie to have a bank account? You can't even pay your taxes without one. Taxes are supposed to be paid electronically through your bank account...."

Continue to read more of our interview with Wanda James, as well as to see her appearance on The Daily Show.

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21 comments
WandaSucks
WandaSucks

Wanda is a back stabbing liar and a rip off artist.

DisgruntledEmployee
DisgruntledEmployee

Interesting that anyone still listens to Wanda.  She is a snake and will turn on anyone when the temperature changes.  Trust me I worked for Simply Pure.  A failed restaurant, dispensary and edible company in just 2 years and every moment documented by Westword from press releases she sends out. Brilliant!  Funny that Wanda blasts Wells Fargo for not working with MMJ businesses even though when Wells Fargo willing took deposits daily that reeked like weed at a time most MMJ businesses were banking in the Springs and paying higher fees.   The banks wanted your drug money just like they want everyone elses.  And Simply Pure was able to maintain a bank account much longer than most of the MMCs and MIPs because of their restaurant and other business accounts. She didn't fight for you when you lost your bank account but now it should matter because her company failed.  Wanda is willing to blame anyone for  her failures.  When 8 Rivers was doing poorly she blamed YELP and started a campaign against it.  

 

I may agree with what she says in this article does but I'm staying as far away from anything she touches in the future.

COlady
COlady

For a totally fake phony political animal Wanda covers a lot of self-promotional talking points here westword.... Hell she even manages to say a few things some of us like, for the 1st time... but truth be told she aint giving nobody money this election, cause she aint got it. the same reason  holds true for the failure of Simply Pure, banking is only a problem if you have any money... Why isnt Westword interested in asking if it is a co-incidence that SP closed shop the same week the City of Denver asked OPCs and MIPS to pony up their $5k each in license fees... but its cool... she has a pitch at the end of her softball story to advertise for investors!

priceless! 

Walther
Walther

Here's another gem from Wanda: "They can't arrest me for anything now, because I'm in full compliance with federal law." Wanda, news flash, just b/c you stopped selling mmj doesn't mean the feds can't come and get you for your PAST sales. Also, all past sales and grows are cumulative through your lifetime, guaranteeing you are eligible for a 40-year mandatory minimum federal prison sentence for your PAST crimes. Boy, these people really have no idea what they are doing.

krymsun
krymsun

There is a great article at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/doug-bandow/its-time-to-declare-peace_b_1019665.html that I highly recommend. One pertinent line from it, that really struck me: "The war, after all, cannot really be a war on drugs, since drugs cannot be arrested, prosecuted, or punished. The war is against persons who use drugs. As such, the war is a civil war, fought against the 28 million Americans who use illegal drugs annually."

 

Though I am not a Colorado resident, I have relatives there, so I share their concerns.

 

Politically, I am a one-issue voter; how congress critters and others seeking (re-)election who are against marijuana legalization, or at the very least, decriminalization won't get my vote. The issue impacts too many other major issues: economic, health, legal. My two pet peeves that really anger me are stupidity and hypocrisy; those who exhibit them are not qualified to hold office, in my not-so-humble opinion. On this subject, Romney is stupid, and Obama is the hypocrite. The President's saving grace is that his hypocrisy can be overcome and mended with a change in his official stance; unfortunately for Romney, ignorance can be cured with education, but stupidity goes to the bone. All the President would have to do to lock in a landslide election win would be to work with the majority of Americans, and press for marijuana legalization. I would never expect Romney to use it, particularly as his religion forbids it, nor would I hold that against him, but for him to say he would fight marijuana legalization 'tooth and nail', denying it to the rest of us, especially those most in need of it, disqualifies him as a viable candidate, in my book.

 

As for the banks that won't handle accounts of marijuana businesses, I would suggest avoiding all the major national ones, and seek a smaller, more local credit-union, and would urge everyone to do so, even if not involved directly in cannabusiness. 

 

Lastly, kudos and a huge attagirl to Wanda James, we need more like her.

 

 

 

Alan_Smithee
Alan_Smithee

that farcical Daily Show thing didn't help matters at all.  it made the same old tired bird-brained jokes about things.  i'd never have agreed to appear on that awful program if i'd been they .

coloradommjpatient
coloradommjpatient

Can't agree more Walther! Wanda was instrumental in SCREWING patients and other MMCs with lobbying for HB1284 and the like. Her involvement with CMMR, which turned into MMIG and CBA showed her true colors. These groups supported THC DUID laws, advertisement bans, etc. Not ONE THING has supported patients. They actually lobbied to erode our rights and get rid of caregivers. PATHETIC! 

 

If you would have focused on the patient rather than helping craft SELF SERVING legislation, you might have had more people standing up with you. Another one bites the dust. 

 

Karma is a bitch, isn't it...

Walther
Walther

Good riddance! Wanda was one of the leaders of the MMIG/CMMR movement to support HB1284 and bring MORE REGULATION to mmj businesses. This is a classic case of reaping what you sow. You weren't there to stand up for the patient's privacy concerns, you went lock-step with the DEA and MMCED when they wanted administrative access to your security cameras, and now you have had to fold b/c no one stood up for you! Good riddance, puerile pot clown! Take your greed elsewhere -- patients don't need your kind of "support".

WaywardBill
WaywardBill

 @Wanda James is my friend and has always supported my efforts financially and morally toward legalization. She is a SAINT in my eyes. Kudos Girl!

 

Last week I stopped by a 16th Street Mall dispensary. They have circumvented the banking system by installing a ATM hooked up to the cash register. You purchase then you transact on the ATM. They make the change. Food for thought until the bank dilemma is solved.

 

As to A64. Coloradans have a unique opportunity to change history.  Change 75 years of lies and deception created by the love triangle of William Randall Hearst, John D. Rockefeller, and Harry Anslinger plus not to forget the 41 year war on drugs that have made billions for international cartels. Don't blow it. Vote YES on A64. THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING...!!!

Peace, Pot, Politics,

Wayward Bill Chengelis

Chairman, US Marijuana Party

Chairman, US Marijuana Party of Colorado

Yippie

kevin_hunt
kevin_hunt topcommenter

Obama has not been a friend to the Medical Marijuana industry, but Romney may be worse:

 

Melvin Sembler, a Florida State Co-Chair for Mitt Romney’s finance committee ran a chain of teen drug "rehab" clinics (Straight, Inc) that had a track record of extreme abuse.  This abuse included kids being thrown against walls, held against their will, kidnapped, restrained in leg irons, forced into servitude, and raped."

 

Melvin has donated over $100,000 to "Smart Colorado" in an attempt to keep marijuana illegal. I am voting YES on A64 to send Melvin a message that we will not tolerate his influence in Colorado.

 

http://www.thenation.com/blog/170007/gop-mogul-behind-drug-rehab-torture-centers-bankrolling-opposition-pot-legalization-colo

nuglife
nuglife

"You can't run a business without a bank account, but the only way to get a bank account now is to lie," James says.

 

This is not true at all.  The banks won't work with high profile businesses that put themselves in the media weekly.

TheSpleen
TheSpleen

 @nuglife You have no clue what you are talking about but, whatever, just keep typing, numbnuts.

 

The DEA & FDIC have threatened federal action for banks who work with mmj businesses: that's why you can't use a credit card at almost any mmc in the state.

 

Pull your head outta yer ass and read the news.

nuglife
nuglife

 @TheSpleen Numbnuts?  I have a bank account and have no issues, no need to lie to my bank.  What experience are you speaking from?

Dave5280
Dave5280

 @TheSpleen  @nuglife I know several owners of dispensaries, and the banks are quite leery of dealing with them.  It's really tough on the businesses because of the $10K cash rule the ITS has in place.  I don't know whether it's because of Wanda having a "high-profile" or not, but it certainly doesn't help.  My friends that own dispensaries do have banks, but, as Wanda said, they have to be "creative" in how deposits are made.  All of them, however, do have credit card capabilities...and that helps a bit.  They prefer patients use their debit/credit cards, this reduces cash deposits.  So both of you are right in your own way....  :)

Kevins_Mom
Kevins_Mom

 @nuglife  @TheSpleen 

 

All banks are legally required to report all suspicious cash transactions, and must notify the feds of any drug money activity regardless of the amount deposited.

 

The form is a Suspicious Activity Report from the US Treasury.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suspicious_activity_report

 

Your bank has no doubt filed those forms regarding your criminal activity.

 

nuglife
nuglife

 @Booshit  @TheSpleen Under 10k/day and you're fine with the local banks that still work with the industry.  Not sure why you you both start insulting people through your computer when you're wrong. 

 

Booshit
Booshit

 @nuglife  @TheSpleen You must have such a shitty small shop that your $750 daily deposit doesn't raise any eyebrows, EVERY larger operation has had banking issues...or you lied right out of the gate.

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