Medical Marijuana Store in Denver Positive Over New Bank Guidelines
If the federal government found out a banking institution was doing business with marijuana sellers, they could lose their certification.
DENVER, CO - If the federal government found out a banking institution was doing business with marijuana sellers, they could lose their certification. This is because marijuana is still illegal in the eyes of the federal government.
Denver Relief, a medical marijuana shop in Denver, has been open for four years. For those four years, the company had to funnel money through an independent LLC and could never tell the banks what it actually sells.
But with the announcement Friday by the Department of Justice, businesses like Denver Relief and the shops we will see in Washington may no longer need to operate in the shadows.
"We were using the square app on the iPhone and they found out we were a marijuana business and they chose to hold out funds," said Andy Betts, Denver Relief Manager.
Those are just some of the problems that marijuana shops face in Colorado and legal medical shops face now in Washington. Betts is manager of Denver Relief and says the banking industry is the biggest road block to being a fully legal business.
The new guidelines leave banks to work with the marijuana industry at their discretion. The Department of Justice says it will only focus its enforcement on banks and businesses that support selling marijuana to minors, that use marijuana as a cloak to dealing other illegal drugs, and support grows on public lands.
There are several other criteria as well. But in short if businesses are tax paying and law abiding the federal government says it will not prosecute banks who work with marijuana shops.
This is big news especially for Washington because now the state likely won't face the issues Colorado has faced, even more so now with legal retail sales.
"I think it's huge this is a huge step towards the direction of legalizing marijuana for Washington and Colorado and the next step after that which is potentially legalizing marijuana in the county," Betts said.