An exciting new bill introduced in the Senate on Thursday by a group of bipartisan legislators would legalize banking for legalized, regulated marijuana dispensaries.
As our Palm Beach and Broward County drug crime defense lawyers know, banks have been hesitant (to say the least) about doing business with marijuana businesses. This new bill, if it becomes law, will offer the banks considerable comfort should they choose to conduct marijuana-related business.
Linking legal marijuana businesses with the banking industry will be a safeguard against crime. Without access to business bank accounts, many legal dispensaries are forced to store all of their money in physical cash in the dispensaries, which presents serious risks: the money can easily be lost and the presence of the cash loudly invites crime.
While marijuana has become legalized in some parts of the country (for recreational purposes in four states and the District of Columbia and for medicinal purposes in 23 states), there has been a great deal of confusion over how the legal marijuana industry might interact with banks. Because marijuana has only been legalized here and there at the state level, it remains illegal at the federal level. And because banks (which conduct business through interstate commerce and are chartered under the laws of the federal government) are regulated by the federal government, for a bank to engage in business with a product listed as illegal under federal law would likely be a violation.
Think of it this way: heroin is illegal under federal law; if Bank of America, for example, decided to knowingly do business banking with a heroin distributor, Bank of America would find itself in serious hot water with federal banking regulators. Because marijuana is still illegal, doing business with marijuana dispensaries might land them in hot water, too. That is, as our Palm Beach and Broward County drug crime defense lawyers know, unless this bill becomes law.
Put simply, the proposed bill would prevent the federal government from penalizing banks which engage in business with marijuana dispensaries.
In addition to presenting the legal dispensaries with a way to safely manage their money, the bill is particularly important because, as you might figure, the degree to which an industry or product is restricted from engaging in commercial banking limits the extent to which its potential can truly be realized, regardless of whether or not its use or sale may be legal in one state or another. Allowing legal marijuana businesses to engage in commercial banking activity, as our drug crime defense lawyers at Leifert & Leifert know, will give legal, regulated marijuana dispensaries the chance to have a positive effect on the nation’s economy.
If you have any questions about this or any other marijuana crime-related issue, or if you’ve been arrested for or charged with a crime in Palm Beach, Broward and/or Miami-Dade County, please contact our Palm Beach and Broward County drug crime defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert by calling 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363) to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to assisting you.