The Obama administration will soon announce regulations that allow banks to do business with legal marijuana sellers, Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday.
“You don’t want just huge amounts of cash in these places. They want to be able to use the banking system,” Holder said during an appearance at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center. “There’s a public safety component to this. Huge amounts of cash—substantial amounts of cash just kind of lying around with no place for it to be appropriately deposited is something that would worry me, just from a law enforcement perspective.”
This is extremely important, not only for the safety of cannabis businesses and the convenience of cannabis consumers, but it also means that the banking industry will now benefit from legalization. And that’s good for the future of legalization.
Update: The Politico article has been updated:
While Holder spoke twice of new “regulations” that were being prepared, a Justice Department spokesman said later that the attorney general was referring to legal “guidance” for prosecutors and federal law enforcement. Such a legal memo wouldn’t be enforceable in court and would amount to less than the kind of clear safe harbor many banks say they would want before accepting money from pot businesses.