People of Northwest Public Radio
Pot Legalization in Washington
Tue September 10, 2013
U.S. Senate To Hold Hearing On State Pot Legalization
Syria’s not the only issue on the agenda in Congress this week. So is marijuana. The Senate Judiciary committee will hold a hearing Tuesday on the conflict between federal law and pot legalization in Washington and Colorado.
The long scheduled hearing comes less than a week after the Department of Justice announced it will not sue to stop Washington and Colorado from legalizing pot. The DOJ did outline eight enforcement priorities. They include keeping proceeds from legal marijuana businesses out of the hands organized crime rings. But Washington Governor Jay Inslee and state Attorney General Bob Ferguson warn that will be difficult to enforce if marijuana businesses can’t open a bank account. Currently banks can run afoul of federal law if they accept deposits from drug sales. In written testimony to the Judiciary committee, Inslee and Ferguson urge the Department of Justice to give federal banking regulators more guidance in this area. They also ask Congress to consider passing the Marijuana Business Access to Banking Act. It would allow banks to accept deposits from licensed marijuana operators who comply with state law.
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