Recordnet is reporting that the federal government is attempting to pressure banks to make it more difficult for medical marijuana businesses to get banking services.
Our Los Angeles medical marijuana lawyers continue to report on the challenges facing the medical marijuana industry. Collectives and dispensaries should have an attorney of record as a routine matter of business. The relationship you have with your law firm is confidential and you can discuss issues like taxation, banking and non-profit status. The reality is the local, state and federal authorities are making up the rules as they go along. It is the businesses that have quality legal representation, and which fight for their rights, that have the best chances of surviving.
As we reported recently on our Marijuana Lawyer Blog the industry has established a lobbying presence in Washington as the Internal Revenue Service has moved to crackdown on medical marijuana sales, which remain illegal under federal law.
Now, dispensaries are getting letters from their banks notifying them that their accounts are frozen or closed. A spokesperson for Wells Fargo declined to comment other than to say the bank has decided not to offer services to medical marijuana businesses.
Dispensary operators elsewhere in California, including Sacramento, are telling similar stories. While President Obama said in 2009 that the federal government would respect state’s rights when it comes to the medical marijuana issue, selling marijuana remains illegal under federal law. By last year, Congress had received complaints from 14 states that federal regulators were pressuring banks to close accounts.
When questioned, federal regulators were quick to pass the buck from Congress, to the Treasury Department, to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to the Office of the Comptroller of Currency.
Of course, nobody had any information about any such pressure being directed at banks. Nobody knew nothing!
Third grade all over again. If you are in the medical marijuana business in Southern California, do yourself a favor and get yourself and experienced law firm to stand up for your rights.
The CANNABIS LAW GROUP offers experienced and aggressive representation to the medical marijuana industry in Southern California– including growers, dispensaries and collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call 714-937-2050 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.