July 31, 2015

"Banking regulators just said no to a financial institution that aims to be the first to serve the expanding marijuana industry in Colorado."

"The Fourth Corner Credit Union in Denver applied in November to the Federal Reserve for a 'master account,' which would allow it to interact with other financial institutions and open its doors to some of the hundreds of state-licensed marijuana businesses in Colorado...."
The credit union, which has the backing of Colorado’s governor, fired back on Thursday night by filing a lawsuit in federal court in Denver against the Fed, demanding “equal access” to the financial system....

Many small-business owners in the state have had to improvise with safes, armored cars and other alternatives to banking. Colorado’s state government has said that the lack of access to banks is a public safety issue, as well as a deterrent in the state’s effort to collect taxes....

70 comments:

David Begley said...

Obama will issue an Executive Order and override the Fed.
Or Val Jarrett will call Janet Yellen and give her the Chicago treatment.

Federal law is not the supreme law of the land if Obama doesn't like it. See, Sanctuary cities.

Obama needs to keep the proles drugged.

T Rellis said...

Getting confusing which laws we can choose to ignore and which we must follow.

Coupe said...

If the drug is against federal law, how could the feds provide a way to distribute the profits?

It seems like the way to go is to change the federal law. If people can make fracking legal, surely they can make drug abuse legal.

Big Mike said...

This is utterly insane. Marijuana is legal, but only if it functions like an illegal enterprise? Leave it to Democrats to make a total muddle of every little thing.

Michael K said...

Marijuana shops are the only part of the Obama economy that has been successful !

The Choom economy.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

No?

How could they say no?

What the hell are they smoking?!

PatHMV said...

I'm with the regulators. Marijuana remains a highly controlled substance under federal law. Until that changes, regardless of state law, everybody dealing with it and with moving money around that stems from dealing marijuana is at risk of federal charges for conspiracy, money laundering, and drug dealing.

Scott said...

The New York Times article, in an an obvious move to play to the interests of the Obama Administration, is completely silent about DOJ's "Operation Choke Point," which is highly relevant to this article. The "operation" targets lawful businesses that the administration doesn't like, such as firearm manufacturers, porn producers, and marijuana dispensaries. Here is an article on the American Banker website from two days ago that touches on the arbitrary havoc DOJ is ginning up with this "operation."

sydney said...

What Scott said. If a business is legal, then they're legal. The government should not be able to discriminate this way. First they came for the dopers and I did nothing......

Coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
WisRich said...

18 days,140 posts, and three more video's exposing Planned Parenthood since Althouse has posted anything on this story.

What happened to "Cruel Neutrality".

I'll keep counting Ann.

Dave said...

This is good story to illustrate the valuable public service of the banking industry.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Scott said...

The "operation" targets lawful businesses that the administration doesn't like, such as... marijuana dispensaries

There is no such thing as a lawful marijuana dispensary in this country.

mikee said...

Operation Choke Point started by targeting two very, very legal businesses, porn producers and gun sales, to eliminate their access to financial services such as banking and lending. Because if you start with something icky like porn, and as divisive as guns, you get no angry protest over the porn, and make half the voters (yours) happy about the problems of gun businesses.

Now the feds are also trying to stop pot businesses from doing business. And who else? Because the banks don't tell you that your business is targeted by the Feds for loss of banking services, they just do it.

What's next? All Republican-owned businesses, audited annually by the IRS, with banking denied to anyone who donated to a non-Democrat candidate?

I, for one, eagerly await the further weaponization of federal government bureaucracies against legal businesses. And my next IRS audit.

But while I wait, I'm switching my voter registration to Democrat, right after the presidential primary in my state, just to be safe.

All Hail Obama, Greatest of the Chicago Thug-Kings! Hail! Hail!

All Hail Hillary, who started this when she had the FBI charge the White House Travel Office employees with baseless crimes, to put her friends in paying sinecures! Hail! Hail!

Coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cubanbob said...

Not that there are any good guys in this mess but this ought to make for a very interesting legal battle over federalism.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

If you took all of the things I care about, and stuffed them in a walnut shell, they'd rattle around like a pea in a boxcar.

Scott said...

"There is no such thing as a lawful marijuana dispensary in this country."

You're no fan of the Tenth Amendment, I can tell. And you believe the commerce clause gives the feral government the right to regulate anything it wants.

rhhardin said...

I'd have thought the shops would go out of business when the IRS said they couldn't book the cost of inventory as a business expense. So their gross is their net, for tax purposes.

David said...

"And you believe the commerce clause gives the feral government the right to regulate anything it wants."

Excellent typo, Scott.

fe·ral
ˈ
adjective
(especially of an animal) in a wild state, especially after escape from captivity or domestication.

Michael K said...

" The "operation" targets lawful businesses that the administration doesn't like, such as firearm manufacturers"

I'm wondering if I encountered this recently when I was buying ammunition from a dealer on-line. My credit card kept being =rejected and I got three or for calls from the issuing ban (Citibank) from their "fraud" alert. Each time I assured them it was a legitimate purchase but the same thing happened. Finally, I used a different card.

The dealer I use is "Lucky Gunner" which won a big lawsuit recently.

A U.S. District Court judge in Colorado tossed the lawsuit, called it "propaganda" and said Holmes' online ammo purchases did not violate any federal laws.


He also ruled plaintiffs should reimburse Lucky Gunner for legal fees.


The plaintiffs appealed that ruling, but dropped it today.


Citibank may find my use of their card dwindling. I've had it 30 years.

David said...

MJ is not legal under federal law, at least in the way it's grown, distributed and used in Colorado.

What else did they expect?

Thorley Winston said...

You're no fan of the Tenth Amendment, I can tell.

The Tenth Amendment only means in this case that the federal government can’t force a State to use its resources to enforce a federal. It’s been pretty well settled for the last two hundred plus years that under the Supremacy Clause, federal law trumps State law to the contrary. So while States can refuse to use their State law enforcement resources to enforce federal drug laws and banking laws, they cannot stop the federal government from enforcing them.

As PatHMV correctly pointed out, if you think marijuana should be legal than you need to petition the federal government to change the federal law. The attempt to find a short cut by ignoring federal law and the Constitution which gives the federal government supremacy when its laws conflict with that of a State’s is simply not going to work.

Tank said...

Scott said...

"There is no such thing as a lawful marijuana dispensary in this country."

You're no fan of the Tenth Amendment, I can tell. And you believe the commerce clause gives the feral government the right to regulate anything it wants.


It doesn't matter what he, or you, or I, or Althouse believe. The Federal Gov't has taken that power (not right) and is ready to enforce it at the end of a barrel of a gun. Because that is the nature of government.

Mingus Jerry said...

What about using Bitcoin on a statewide basis?

Matthew Sablan said...

I see no way that the government could bless banks for marijuana growers, or whatever the technical term is, without the fear that the kind of marijuana growers/drug dealers they think of [white, semi-affluent, selling chic pot brownies and marijuana infused shakes/teas] might not be the only ones coming in to do business, and fearing that it would take just one of the wrong sort of dealer getting financed from the bank to tear the whole thing down.

John said...

Coupe said:

Since the state can't legalize the drug, they are left with not prosecuting the manufacture, or consumption.


Coupe, the state can and did legalize the manufacture consumption and sale of MJ. They are fully within their rights to do so.

It is not that they are "not prosecuting" it is that they have no grounds or law to prosecute under.

What they can't do is change federal law and it is federal law that makes MJ illegal. If you break a federal law the feds are the only ones who can take action.

John Henry

John said...

To clarify, the state can legalize under state law but only under state law.

John Henry

John said...

WisRich said...

18 days,140 posts, and three more video's exposing Planned Parenthood since Althouse has posted anything on this story.

What happened to "Cruel Neutrality".


Ann has always been pretty outspoken about a woman's right to do what she wants with her body. She has also always been pretty outspoken about a fetus/baby being part of the woman's body.

She refuses to extend the same rights to me to do with their body as they wish. For example, to smoke dope.

Women, and men, only have sovereignty over their bodies when it comes to abortion.

Cruel neutrality? I call bullshit.

As for her not giving a shit, as someone else said. Yup. I suspect that this is the cases. She just. doesn't. care.

Not even when babies are accidentally born alive. And, as we heard yesterday, chopped up for parts anyway.

John Henry

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Scott said...

You're no fan of the Tenth Amendment, I can tell. And you believe the commerce clause gives the feral government the right to regulate anything it wants.

Scott-

Welcome to the Althouse blog. You must be new here.

Seriously, I am a strong supporter of the 10th amendment, and do not believe that the commerce clause give the federal government the right to regulate anything it wants.

Go ahead an make the 10th amendment argument about the dispensaries. Go ahead and complain about operation chokepoint targeting businesses that the federal government agrees are legal. But it's silly to complain about operation chokepoint targeting a business that all three branches of the federal government ( as well as the vast majority of Americans ) agree are illegal. You need to win the 10th amendment argument first before the chokepoint argument makes any sense.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Thorley Winston said...

The Tenth Amendment only means in this case that the federal government can’t force a State to use its resources to enforce a federal.

No. The 10th amendment means that if the Federal government is not authorized by the constitution to do something, it does not have the power to do it. In this case, that means that they do not have the right to regulate the dispensaries, or the banking services related to them. They would have the right to regulate interstate commerce of marijuana, but even there that regulation should not be to prohibit the trade, only to insure that the trade is not causing problems, such as the spread of agricultural pests.

Michael K said...

John Henry, you just reminded me of a story I had forgotten to put in my new book. When we were residents at LA County, a friend named Joe was an OB resident working one night in Main Admitting. A woman came in as an "Incomplete Abortion," which is what we called "miscarriages." The tiny baby was lying on the gurney between her legs and he tossed it into an emesis basin and sent the woman and the baby upstairs to GYN Admitting. He forgot the incident until about two years later when he was in GYN clinic and this women came up to him. She said, "Oh Doctor Oliver ! I want to thank you for saving my baby's life !" It was the woman and there, standing next to her, was a two year old that had been the baby he tossed into the emesis basin thinking it was not viable.

He told the story on himself and we all laughed.

The good old days when the culture was sill working.

Hunter said...

Coupe said...

It seems like the way to go is to change the federal law. If people can make fracking legal, surely they can make drug abuse legal.


I guess you never noticed that drug abuse is already legal. It's just limited to the drugs government says we are allowed to use (alcohol, tobacco, prescription painkillers)

traditionalguy said...

Hint: the governments are cash hungry and have rules that allow them to confiscate cash outside the banking system. So they are determined to keep their environment target rich.

Bobby said...

Hunter,

According to Intervention, more Americans die every year from prescription drug abuse than from cocaine and heroin combined. I haven't yet bothered to fact check them.

John said...

IIB,

I would agree fully that the 10th Amendment does not permit govt to regulate interstate commerce and I do not think it has the power, under 10A to regulate MJ uses etc that takes place solely in Colorado.

So far they do not seem to be trying to do so.

They would not have the power to regulate a bank that was solely engaged in intrastate commerce. (Probably)

In this case, the CO bank is trying to be part of the Federal Reserve System which is about as Interstate as it is possible to be. It is also not a federal law issue. The FRS can choose who to allow to be members.

I just don't see the 10A argument here. I do think they should be allowed to join the FRS but can also see the FRS argument about being party to a criminal (under federal law) activity. It seems like it opens up all sorts of cans of worms.

I do agree with you that MJ should be legal, probably with some age restrictions.

John Henry

SteveR said...

Half the fun of smoking pot was the underground society. All this legalization stuff just makes it boring and conventional. Hell my parents might have smoked it if it were legal.

John said...

Also, what about our school system drugging our kids with amphetamines? (Street name "Black Beauties" Trade name Adderall. Used to be called Biphetamine because it's double dose.)

It is OK to do meth if it makes the teachers job easier but not just for fun. Right?

John Henry

Anonymous said...

You think this is bad?

Just wait until the next administration and they decide to allow the DEA to enforce the Federal Marijuana laws again. There is going to be some big parties going on in the DEA. Several years of building up large amounts of cash to seize? Check. New homes purchased through illegal activities to seize? Check. Boats and cars to seize? Check.

The Federal Government is going to have a field day wrecking all the dummies who decided to register their business with a State that is illegal.

I'd suggest if you're a Church you don't advertise that you won't marry homosexuals. Because eventually the Federal Government is also going to have a field day shutting down your tax exempt status.

We can whine about the 10th amendment all we want. The Federal Government doesn't care.

paminwi said...

I believe there are both state chartered banks and federally chartered banks. If a bank is state chartered versus federally chartered could state chartered banks do business with the marjiuana joints?

n.n said...

So, that's the State's interest in normalizing psychotropic drugs.

They have Dreams of Lamborghinis dancing through their heads.

At least they're honest.

lgv said...

"I believe there are both state chartered banks and federally chartered banks. If a bank is state chartered versus federally chartered could state chartered banks do business with the marjiuana joints?"

No. The banks would be violating federal criminal law by taking drug money regardless of the charter. The same is true for any entity that supports the criminal act, bank or not. An existing bank wouldn't risk it, because the downside is really big. You could from a nice business to nothing and jail. The non-bank bank that would do for the legal drug businesses what banks do would have to start from scratch and they would have to know that there would be no going concern assumption for that business.

It is crazy not to allow these businesses to use some type of bank like entity. At the same time, I don't see how the federal government could allow it to happen since what Colorado and Washington are allowing to happen is still technically illegal. Hence, we have no solution.

Thorley Winston said...

No. The 10th amendment means that if the Federal government is not authorized by the constitution to do something, it does not have the power to do it. In this case, that means that they do not have the right to regulate the dispensaries, or the banking services related to them. They would have the right to regulate interstate commerce of marijuana, but even there that regulation should not be to prohibit the trade, only to insure that the trade is not causing problems, such as the spread of agricultural pests.

That’s a very . . . novel interpretation of the Commerce Power but it’s one that was rejected nearly 200 years ago when the Supreme Court held that Congress’ Commerce Power was plenary, exclusive and supreme. Manufacturing/production, selling and financing all well within the scope of the commerce power and once Congress decides to regulate it, the Constitution doesn’t require them to stop at regulating the effects of a particular item – they do in fact have the power to ban it entirely (barring a specific Constitutional prohibition to the contrary).

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Thorley Winston said...

That’s a very . . . novel interpretation of the Commerce Power but it’s one that was rejected nearly 200 years ago when the Supreme Court held that Congress’ Commerce Power was plenary, exclusive and supreme. Manufacturing/production, selling and financing all well within the scope of the commerce power and once Congress decides to regulate it, the Constitution doesn’t require them to stop at regulating the effects of a particular item – they do in fact have the power to ban it entirely (barring a specific Constitutional prohibition to the contrary).

It is not novel at all, just not the interpretation of the Supreme Court. The federal government does not agree that the federal government's powers should be so limited. Shocking, I know.

Rusty said...

They need to form their own credit co-op.
Maybe do business with banks in Canada or Mexico.

There is a solution that the market can tolerate. It just won't be the solution the government wants.

Black market banking. We are truly living in interesting times.

Thorley Winston said...

Just wait until the next administration and they decide to allow the DEA to enforce the Federal Marijuana laws again. There is going to be some big parties going on in the DEA. Several years of building up large amounts of cash to seize? Check. New homes purchased through illegal activities to seize? Check. Boats and cars to seize? Check.

The Federal Government is going to have a field day wrecking all the dummies who decided to register their business with a State that is illegal.


Actually I think it will probably happen at the State level. My understanding of the State’s “legalization” schemes that they required that the dispensaries be regulated by the States and so long as they complied with the State regulations, DOJ wasn’t going to enforce the law – or rather make them a low priority – FOR NOW.

However it’s likely that at least some of the sellers are going to get kind of sloppy and take a more complacent attitude over time. I don’t doubt that many of the people supposedly being marijuana for “medical” purposes are just buying it to smoke it recreationally and sooner or later one of them is going to do something really stupid and reckless while under the influence. Maybe cause a car accident, maybe sell it to kids, maybe commit some other crime, etc.

And when that happens, local law enforcement will have all the justification that they need to come down on the dispensary that sold the drugs like a ton a bricks and probably won’t think twice about using the existing forfeiture laws to seize all of the owner’s assets (which will be building up). And pretty soon they’ll start going after any dispensary that didn’t dot every “I” and cross every “t” that was a condition of the State’s “legalization” scheme. After all, the State only said it wouldn’t enforce the law if the seller did X, Y and Z and if they forgot to do Z perfectly, they’re screwed.



Sam L. said...

as well as a deterrent in the state’s effort to collect taxes....

Can't have THAT!

tim in vermont said...

If people can make fracking legal, surely they can make drug abuse legal.

Yeah, ok. Sounds like you are already well into your stash.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

It's too bad lawyers aren't more creative, seems like an easy case to make:

Establish fact 1: homosexuals as a group have higher (ahem) drug use than non-homosexuals.

Establish fact 2: not allowing the marijuana industry access to banking harms the industry and be extension harms drug users and potential drug users.

Confirm fact 3: the S. Court has shown that homosexuals are a protected class and thus discrimination against that class must pass a very difficult test to be Constitutionally permissible (if not true for homosexuals substitute some other protected class and make the case that fact 1 is still true).

Argument: Banking should be viewed as a "common carrier" such that disallowing access to banking infrastructure in a way that harms certain groups more than others cannot be permitted. Show the disparate impact (on protected groups/classes) of denying banking access to the drug industry. Paint anyone who disagrees as a bigot, etc.

Mike said...

This should be a learning example for why direct democracy (ballot initiative in this case) is inferior to a representative republic. Writing laws entails more than "it feels good and iwanna do it." Responsible lawmakers would address the financial aspect of legalization. Now CO has created a chaotic cash economy growing faster than their ability to service it. Hauling Hefty bags of cash to the assessor's office is recipe for disaster and an invitation to larceny and graft on a huge scale.

Way to go Stoners!

tim in vermont said...

Stoners didn't think it through. Who would have guessed?

Bob R said...

The people of Colorado were still right to do this. The chaos is a good thing. It's created not by the state law, but by federal meddling in what is not a federal matter. The states need to heighten the contradictions of the expansion of the federal government beyond its enumerated powers.

Mike said...

My point is that since 9/11 banking laws and DOJ practices have made interaction with "the financial system" much more perilous for risky businesses. All of this chaos and the crimes coming with it were easily foreseeable. God bless the risk taking entrepreneurs who rushed in to serve this new market because they can lose it all at the whim of Big Govt.

Bobby said...

"Responsible lawmakers would address the financial aspect of legalization."

Well, where are we supposed to find that?

PBandJ_LeDouanier said...

"He told the story on himself and we all laughed.

The good old days when the culture was sill working."

What does this mean? It was good to laugh about accidentally throwing away a kid?

Anywho, cons are worried about the unborn because they are helpless. But, from the minute they're born until death it's Rand selfishness that rules. If they stumble, it's their own fault, or their parents--nothing is owed them (the takers) by society Who knew that a sociopathic philosophy could be so appealing to so many?

Michael said...

PBJ


"What does this mean? It was good to laugh about accidentally throwing away a kid?"

As opposed to intentionally killing them for parts?

Well at least they served the capitalist system and weren't required to hoe their own row.

Howard said...

Another slow comment day... with no reasonable excuse for going off on dark skinned and gay people, the Althousian Neanderthals remain quiet. This is how the Lady Law micro-aggresses the 'baggers.

Michael K said...

Glad I stopped by to see what idiots are saying.

"What does this mean? It was good to laugh about accidentally throwing away a kid?"

The joke, for those too ignorant to understand, is that he thought there was no chance of that child surviving and thought there was no reason to try to save her. Then he was astonished to see that she was two years old and standing there looking at him. He was laughing at himself. Planned Parenthood, your cause, would have cut her up for parts,

I have a number of stories like that in my new book but would never expect you to understand any of it. I think the Kardashians have a new comic book coming out soon. Check it out.

Guildofcannonballs said...

https://www.tgscolorado.com/index.php/localstores

Y'alls fears are justified.

Ain't nothing stopping neither.

Gahrie said...

cons are worried about the unborn because they are helpless. But, from the minute they're born until death it's Rand selfishness that rules.

Really?

Then explain why American conservatives are the most generous people on Earth?

Anonymous said...

Anywho, cons are worried about the unborn because they are helpless.

True.

But, from the minute they're born until death it's Rand selfishness that rules.

Oh? How many children are you fostering right now? I've got two.

nothing is owed them (the takers) by society

This is true. Nothing is owed anyone.

Who knew that a sociopathic philosophy could be so appealing to so many?

It seems you don't know what the word sociopath means.



Michael K said...

He isn't worth responding to. I'm not even sure it is a person.

PBandJ_LeDouanier said...

"The joke, for those too ignorant to understand, is that he thought there was no chance of that child surviving and thought there was no reason to try to save her."

IMHO, to normal people that's not funny.

Beyond what normal people think, a lot of people (like myself) would consider this situation to be the result of divine intervention. But, I guess that makes us idiots, to you. It seems that at least part of your self worth is dependent on knowing that disagreeing w/ your pov is a sign of idiocy.

At some point you may outgrow this. Hopefully.

PBandJ_LeDouanier said...

gahrie,

they're not. Many other countries are much more generous, considering gdp. And, considering what giving to the poor in general means compared to paying for what you perceive as your self interest, aka a ticket to heaven.

eric,

I don't have any foster kids. But, unless you've got 55 million kids, then you're not doing your part, since some cons claim this many kids could have been saved from abortion.

Michael K said...

" It seems that at least part of your self worth is dependent on knowing that disagreeing w/ your pov is a sign of idiocy."

You poor dope, ritmo. You have nothing to offer but ill-informed snark.

Gahrie said...

they're not. Many other countries are much more generous, considering gdp

Bullshit. Name one.

Hell, set aside all foreign aid coming directly from the government...American individuals and NGOs still give more money and resources to charity than most, if not all, other countries.

walter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
walter said...

"Operation Choke Point," which is highly relevant.."

Not only does this sound ominous..but it sounds like they're doing it wrong in this instance.


"unless you've got 55 million kids, then you're not doing your part, since some cons claim this many kids could have been saved from abortion."

Yeah..like the utter silliness of any sort of charitable donation?
BTW, you are completely omitting any influence of ease of access and lack of social stigma has on the decision to abort. I bet Sanger thought it pivotal...noble of intent as she was..

Kirk Parker said...

Total B*llsh*t, Thorley.

If you're going to go all Constitution-As-Amended on us, please point out the part that gives the feds the right to ban MJ in the first place. (Our forebears were much more intellectually and politically honest than we are, because the recognized it required a Whole Constitutional Amendment to give the feds the authority to control and ban alcohol consumption.)

And "nearly 200 years ago"? Great Ghu, if you're going to make such a preposterous claim, at least cite the Supreme Court decision you think supports your assertion! (And no, you can't cite Wickard, that's only 73 years ago.

Nichevo said...

PBJ: "What does this mean?"

We know, sandwich, we know. It's better not to mock the proud blindness of such as you but sometimes temptation is strong.

Your very glibness exposes your true nature like an abortionist dilating his victims.

You don't believe in God, right? Or at least you don't believe in hell? The world ends when you die, so why not be as rotten as you can while you are alive?

Btw, snack, are you the new Monty? The guy who we first knew as montana urban legend for some reason likes to change his name and disappear once he covers himself in enough slime.