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State senator Bob Hasegawa (D-11) has been championing a state-run bank for years, based on a successful state bank in North Dakota ... The latest iteration of Hasegawa's bill attempts to recast his proposed state bank as "the sole depository for in-state marijuana producers, processers, and retailers."Banks are reluctant to provide services to state-sanctioned marijuana businesses out of concern of running afoul of federal money-laundering laws—although there is no history of the Feds prosecuting banks for serving medical marijuana businesses. And some in the marijuana industry are reluctant to deposit large sums in banks out of fear of leaving their assets open to federal seizure....

The result is a largely cash-based business in a state industry that is projected to soon generate more than $2 billion of legal revenue a year. It's not even clear that banks will accept deposits from the state of the $533 million a year in marijuana tax revenue Washington is expected to clear by 2015.

SB 5955- 2013-14  

Establishing the Washington publicly owned trust in order to create a financing infrastructure to implement Initiative Measure No. 502 that complies with the United States attorney general's guidance letter of August 29, 2013, thereby providing resources for public infrastructure and other public purposes.
Another factor of an all-cash industry: all-cash industry serves as an inducement to crime, cannabis industry stores with thousands of dollars in the cash drawer, more subject to robbery because they are all-cash and
everybody knows it. They can’t use direct deposit, they can’t make loans, they can’t use credit cards – there is a high incidence of tax avoidance. And at the end of the day, I think the failure to allow legal authorized businesses to use these banks is essentially putting the welcome mat out for organized crime. We’re talking about a business with a $500 million to $1 billion [annual sales] projection over time. Any small business is going to tell you that is a recipe for disaster.”
Furthermore, how can the State of Washington track income and revenues due in an all-cash economy? Diddling away the $533 million a year in cannabis tax revenues Washington is expected to clear by 2015 through an untraceable cash-flow is pure stupidity.

Interested Washingtonians: There is a public hearing scheduled in the Senate Committee on Financial Institutions and Housing & Insurance at 1:30 PM in anticipation of other legislative action on January 16, Thursday of next week in the Senate Committee on Financial Institutions and Housing & Insurance at 1:30 PM in anticipation of other legislative action. Please attend, We need this bill. Washington State needs this bill.

Originally posted to Karen Hedwig Backman on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 12:45 PM PST.

Also republished by DKos Cannabis Law and Drug War Reform.

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