The exact cost of a marijuana raid in America is hard to put an accurate estimate on. The first, and most important, question is, "the cost to whom?" Besides their livelihood, their reputation in the community, and even one's freedom, the financial costs of a marijuana raid can be overwhelming to the suspect - whether they are ultimately found guilty, or not. As marijuana goes more mainstream, however, state and local law enforcement officials are looking to revise their own decades-old procedures when it comes to busting weed growers, before their own departments' budgets get flipped upside down by pot cultivation cases gone bad. In years past, regardless of the state you were growing in, if the cops kicked down the door to your grow op, they would pull every plant from the site for ammunition to use in the upcoming case. This evidence would be left in some police department basement, dying by the minute. But now, with more and more white-collar upper-middle class business types catching heat from the law for dabbling in the weed game, lawsuits have begun to spring up across the country from acquitted suspects in pot cases demanding that their property be returned to them in the same condition it was confiscated. But obviously, the cops aren't mixing nutrient solutions and adhering to a strict lighting schedule in these evidence rooms, so the seized plants start wilting immediately. A cancer patient in Colorado Springs needed a court order to get the police to give...
Banks in the United States love money, except marijuana money. For years state-legal marijuana operations have struggled to find banks that will take their accounts out of fear of federal action for supporting a federally illegal industry. Those issues may now be a thing of the past in Colorado at least, as the state legislature yesterday gave approval to a Colorado pot credit union of sorts, that will give medical and recreational marijuana businesses access to otherwise normal banking services. The approval came on the last day of the state legislative session, a session that has been packed with marijuana legislation aimed at curtailing otherwise legal access. The banking bill is a welcome piece of legislation by members of the industry, who have had to switch from bank to bank to bank over the last few years. The move is also one of safety, as dispensaries have had to become cash-only businesses over the last few years - making them targets of robberies and theft. Lawmakers say that banking services will help with industry transparency and show the feds that money can be tightly controlled. "This is the final piece to our pot puzzle," said state Rep. Jonathan Singer, who sponsored the bill. The legislation is now headed to the desk of Gov. John Hickenlooper for signing. The bill creates a financial cooperative similar to a credit union, but without the federal deposit insurance requirement of other banks and credit unions around the country. The state financial services commissioner would...
Legislators in Colorado have crafted a bill that would create local financial-services cooperatives for legal marijuana businesses, taking a page from the credit union model.
But the bill would require the Federal Reserve Bank to approve the new co-ops, which could doom the idea entirely.
Rep. Jonathan Singer of Boulder proposed House Bill 1398 this week. Under the bill, the co-ops would be overseen by the State Commissioner of Financial Services in a manner similar to existing credit unions. The co-ops would also have to comply with the banking guidance released in February by the Attorney General’s office.
According to Andrew Freedman, Colorado’s director of marijuana coordination, the idea came from credit unions that unsuccessfully tried to cater to the industry. Freedman said that if the bill passes, it would take approximately one year for the co-op structure to form.
That isn’t likely to happen, however, because the bill requires the credit unions to operate with FDIC oversight. Experts believe the federal government is unlikely to approve the partnership due to marijuana’s inclusion in the Controlled Substances Act.
One of the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Pat Steadman of Denver, said the bill does not solve the banking problem but would at least “force the conversation” over marijuana banking.