Feds Give Banks the Green Light to Work with Marijuana Businesses
The slow-creep of medical marijuana acceptance across the nation has just been ratcheted up a notch. This past Friday, the U.S. Treasury issued guidelines to banks making it legal for them to provide services to marijuana-related businesses. Making it legal for banks to do business with marijuana vendors clears out some of the biggest hurdles to those who might want to operate a legal hemp or medical marijuana business.
20-states and growing have already passed laws supporting, finally, the wide-spread use of a substance which can treat cancer, provide an alternative to plastics, and possibly even clean up radiation damage in our country’s soil. It is about time the feds changed their laws to reflect the obvious and growing acceptance of Cannabis L. Sativa as the miracle plant that it is.
Allowing medical marijuana businesses a non-cash method of doing their banking means several things:
- 1. They can bank legally without having to stuff profits under a mattress.
- 2. The feds can regulate and tax emerging businesses, since this is expected to be a trillion-dollar or more industry.
- 3. Growers and distributors in legal states can’t be booked by local law enforcement agencies for conducting business anymore.
The feds have admitted that old rules concerning marijuana trade were anachronistic and did not serve the burgeoning industry. These old laws also foster money-laundering and other crimes, unnecessarily. But make no mistake, this also means businesses are now more easily auditable by the IRS – which means more money for growers and distributors, but also a bigger tax base for the feds.
The big win here, though, is a tectonic shift of social and legal norms surrounding marijuana and hemp. A few states were the early-adopters after years of activism, and now a groundswell of momentum is helping to carry legalization throughout the country. The old has given way to the new, and this is just one example of how the times – they are a changing.
While the guidelines still don’t overturn federal drug laws, it takes law enforcement and legalization as far as the public can go right now, with hope that even the de-scheduling of this helpful substance may be on the horizon. Marijuana is still defined as a controlled substance and is categorized in the same camp as Heroine and Cocaine, as ‘drugs without medicinal value’.
But as the country continues to legalize state-by-state, the feds will be pressured to change this categorization too.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.