Banks–The New Targets of the Federal Crackdown Against Medical Marijuana?
In what appears to be an effort to destroy the burgeoning medical marijuana industry, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag sent a warning letter to Chase Bank. The letter threatens the bank (which holds the mortgage on a piece of property that currently contains a dispensary) may face charges and any money they have received in the past from the property may be subject to “be subject to seizure and forfeiture.” Dispensaries and other medical marijuana businesses have struggled in the past to get loans from banks or even to get bank accounts to deposit their money. This current move by the federal government could result in further hardships for the industry.
According to an article by The Bay Citizen,
Advocates for pot clubs say the banks have become yet another battleground in the fight between the state-sanctioned medical marijuana industry and federal prosecutors upholding the government’s ban on marijuana.
Pot club advocates say banks routinely refuse to do business with dispensaries once they find out what industry they’re in. Oakland’s Harborside Health Center, the largest dispensary on the West Coast, was recently dropped by its bank, Harborside officials said.