6 Colorado Congress members pressure for marijuana banking

3:40 PM, Jan 10, 2014   |    comments
3D employee shows us the fan that filters out the pot smell in the grow room. It still smells... (CREDIT: Noel Brennan/9NEWS)
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 PDF Document: Letter to USDOJ and FinCen

KUSA - Six of Colorado's nine members of Congress signed a letter Friday encouraging federal agencies to hurry on guidelines that would allow marijuana businesses in the state to do business with banks.

Those members applaud the Treasury and Justice departments for working on guidance that could clear up how banks can engage the marijuana industry.

Signing the letter were Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall, both Democrats and House members Diana DeGette (D,) Ed Perlmutter (D,) Mike Coffman (R,) and Jared Polis (D.)

The pot industry has long complained it has difficulty in banking because banks are regulated at the federal level.

Banks who knowingly do business with marijuana companies could be considered to be engaged in racketeering under federal drug laws.

State regulators in Colorado have seen pot shops pay their taxes in bags of cash because they do not have checking accounts.

"The possibility of a cash-only system has raised significant public safety concerns for customers and employees who must now handle and transport large quantities of cash," the letter read.

In truth, some marijuana businesses do have banks and accept credit cards, though the companies do not discuss what bank they use with for fear of causing trouble.

The Congress members wrote that "this issue has taken on an added sense of urgency" since legal sales of the drug began on Jan. 1.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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