Guidelines published in mainstream media now expose the federal government’s aim to spy on users of medical marijuana and the sellers of the substance, though use of the substance is becoming legal in one state after another. Why?
While banks receiving the OK on working with marijuana businesses, these banks are also going to be required to gather information on medical marijuana customers, supposedly to prevent the selling of the substance to minors, so that ‘improper transactions’ are not occurring, and to keep marijuana from going across state lines. The feds also use scare tactics to ‘keep banks from being prosecuted’ when dealing with marijuana sellers, though they will be operating legally within their states.
Department of Justice spokeswoman, Allison Price, said:
“These guidelines, together with the Treasury Department’s guidance to financial institutions, are intended to increase the availability of financial services for marijuana businesses—that are licensed and regulated — while at the same time preserving and enhancing important law enforcement tools.”
This seems like odd advice coming from the feds since some of the biggest banks have been known for laundering money from drug sales. HSBC violated the Bank Secrecy Act and laundered millions from drug money in Mexico, and numerous banks have been given a free pass from the feds for money laundering for years, now, J.P. Morgan, and Chase, among them.
These are some hazy laws, to say the least. If marijuana was just declassified as a ‘substance without medicinal use’ then this wouldn’t be an issue. Here are some of the conditions that banks must obey:
- Checking for a proper license
- Verifying shop’s customers are legal buyers
- Verifying no ties to drug cartels (should be easy since they’re already customers of the big banks)
- Report suspicious activity of any kind
The Obama administration says it is providing the new guidelines to the banking industry to help facilitate state-legalized marijuana businesses and give them greater access to financial institutions. This makes no sense at all.
Attorney General Eric Holder has brought up the fact that legal marijuana operations are dealing largely in cash because banks fear that any relationship with the ‘dealers’ put them at risk of prosecution under existing federal drug and money laundering statutes. (Why do we call them ‘dealers’ when marijuana is a legal substance in over 20 states now. Do you call your pharmacist a dealer?)
While the Treasury advisory was directed to the banking industry, a separate Justice advisory was issued to federal prosecutors across the nation.
“This… guidance should enhance the availability of financial services for, and the financial transparency of, marijuana-related businesses,” Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network said in a written statement.
The Treasury advisory urged banks to conduct their own reviews to verify the legitimacy of the businesses that are required to be “duly licensed and registered” in their respective states. Wouldn’t this go without saying? It isn’t as if the banks are looking up white-collar criminals or politicians to see where their cash comes from. It sounds like more control over a substance that can compete with numerous industries in the current political schema – namely textiles, prisons, pharmaceuticals, oil companies, etc. What a sham.