Feds Working To Address Pot Banking Snag

Sep 11, 2013

A federal law enforcement official says the government is working to address a ban on banks taking on marijuana businesses as clients. As it stands, when pot stores come to Washington they won’t be able to deposit their money in a bank or accept credit cards. That’s because the pot business, still illegal under federal law, is off limits to federally regulated banks. King County Sheriff John Urquhart told a U-S Senate committee Tuesday that businesses that deal only in cash present problems for police.

Urquhart: “Cash-only businesses are a prime target for armed robberies, and cash-only businesses are very difficult to audit.”

Deputy Attorney General James Cole told the senators that the Justice Department agrees in must be addressed. He says they’re in talks with the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

Cole: “And they're talking with and bringing in bank regulators to discuss ways this could be dealt with in accordance with the laws that we have on the books today.”

Cole says an all-cash business could be a magnet for guns and Committee chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont urged Cole to give specific guidance to regulators and drug enforcement personnel, saying, quote: “I don’t want to see a shootout somewhere.”

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