Marijuana: John Hickenlooper asks feds to fix pot banking

john.hickenlooper.signs.marijuana.bills.205x205.jpg
John Hickenlooper.
John Hickenlooper was one of the most visible opponents of Amendment 64, a measure to allow adults 21 and over to use and possess small amounts of marijuana. But since A64's passage, he's done a major turnaround, agreeing to appear at a fundraiser for Proposition AA, which would set tax rates for recreational pot sales. And he's also co-authored a letter with Washington Governor Jay Inslee asking federal officials to adjust regulations that currently prevent weed businesses from using the banking system. Get details and see the letter below.

Because marijuana remains against U.S. law, dispensaries and other affiliated businesses are forbidden from using the federally regulated banks due to rules put in place to prevent money laundering by drug dealers, among others. But apparent movement on the issue took a step forward during a September hearing at which Deputy Attorney General James Cole revealed that the Justice Department was working on a possible solution with other agencies.

jay.inslee.jpg
Washington Governor Jay Inslee.
That was good news to the Denver Auditor's office, which had sent a letter in advance of the hearing arguing that forcing marijuana businesses to operate strictly on a cash basis created a range of problems.

"Anytime you do this much business in cash, it's a target for crime -- and it's pretty apparent that's been going on here over the last couple of years," maintained Denis Berckefeldt, director of communication for Denver Auditor Dennis Gallagher, in an interview with Westword. "And you can't account for this money. How much have you sold? Are you paying the taxes you're supposed to be paying? How much is hidden? If you don't have a paper trail, you can't track it, and all the seed-to-sale systems in the world won't solve the problem."

The Yes on Proposition AA campaign also underscores the need for banking reform when it comes to marijuana businesses -- and argues that voting in favor of the measure will help inspire the feds to set things right. In an interview earlier this week, Yes on Prop AA spokesman Joe Megyesy argued that "passing a tax and demonstrating to the government that we can create revenue for them will make the government much more apt to create a fix for the marijuana industry's problems with banking and financial services," which he identifies as "one of the key struggles the industry in Colorado is facing right now."

Hickenlooper and Washington Governor Jay Inslee make the same point in their letter, addressed to a slew of officials, including Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation chair Martin Gruenberg.

They argue that "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."

Here's the letter in its entirety.

John Hickenlooper-Jay Inslee Marijuana Banking Letter

More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana: How feds can stop one 7-Eleven from being Colorado's money-laundering capital."

My Voice Nation Help
17 comments
JimTom
JimTom topcommenter

I just received my blue book in the mail. 2 things in the book, first is another billion dollars for education, the other the tax on pot. This is a perfect storm for the passing of AA, an income tax increase of $150 a year and/or let the pot users pay more taxes. Sorry folks but "legal weed": will be taxed at 25% by the state and whatever else the city's and counties can get in addition sales taxes.

Steve Holmberg
Steve Holmberg

Isn't this old news? The Fed already said they would permit banking on this issue.

Bradley Crable
Bradley Crable

Yes...it is a business? Do they have all paper work to become a business? Then YES!

stuka1
stuka1

"...he's done a major turnaround, agreeing to appear at a fundraiser for Proposition AA, which would set tax rates for recreational pot sales"

That's not a turnaround by any stretch of the imagination.  Prop AA is designed to torpedo the new rec-marijuana  industry and sabotage A64.  Slick is behaving precisely like the same underhanded prohibitionist bastard he always was.

KathleenChippi
KathleenChippi topcommenter

Easier to seize money in the bank verses unknown holes in the ground.  

But come on Michael Roberts--Hick has not changed his support...he's taking revenge...setting everyone up for the big sting, IMO.  


Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident

Oh yeah, and anybody selling pot (in any fashion, with or without "permission") needs to look into bitcoin. Dispensaries, in particular, could avoid having so much coveted cash on hand.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident

You know, states can open their own banks, independent of the feds. North Dakota, I believe, has one. Colorado could just do it themselves, and if you want to be known as a good governor, opening the Bank of Colorado might just be a feather in your cap as the federal government gets less and less solvent.

Monkey
Monkey

 Hickenlooper has made a major turnaround? Why, because he supports taxing an industry and their customers, and wants the businesses selling weed to have a paper trail to audit?

Sounds to me like he still hates weed, and is seeking revenge through over taxing users and requesting financial records to be kept by banks. Tax evasion is the easiest way to take down people you don't like, the governments been using that for decades when they can't bust you for anything else.

stuka1
stuka1

@Steve Holmberg  

ORLY? In what alternate universe?

stupidstuka
stupidstuka

A64 was written and supported by idiots and fools.

JimTom
JimTom topcommenter

@Monkey Wouldn't tax evasion require someone to not pay the taxes they owe? That would be illegal right?

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident

@Monkey I'm with you. I have a hard time understanding how being for AA is a "turnaround." It's a transparent attempt to punish people engaged in pot commerce.

stuka1
stuka1

@stupidstuka Oh, look, the Jackass is back. D'ya think you could get any more childish? 

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident

@stupidstuka Hey, pinhead! What part of "not to exceed fifteen percent" don't you understand?

Now Trending

Denver Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...