On Tuesday, January 5, 2016 federal district court judge R. Brooke Jackson concluded that the marijuana banking situation is untenable, and he hopes it will soon be resolved by Congress.
In his ruling dismissing a lawsuit that sought federal approval for a credit union aimed at serving Colorado’s marijuana businesses, Judge Jackson found that pot is still illegal under federal law (click here for our article discussing why the Controlled Substance Act must be amended to remove marijuana from the narcotics listing) and financial institutions that deal with money generated by the pot industry could be breaking the law.
Therefore he was forced to dismiss Fourth Corner Credit Union’s challenge to a decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City to keep the pot bank from accessing the nation’s financial system, leaving many marijuana businesses operating on a cash-only basis and causing concerns over the possibility of robberies and other business problems including timely and safely paying state and local taxes associated with operations.
Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, said Tuesday that Jackson’s ruling sends the message that Congress must act.
“There’s no shortcut, there’s no Band-Aid, there’s no workaround to fix this industry-wide,” he said. “Forcing cannabis businesses to operate without banking access is a crisis, affecting public safety, law-abiding businesses and the state officials in charge of regulating them.”