The U.S. Justice Department will draft a plan to more effectively discern whether state and local governments are effectively enforcing federal priorities for state-licensed cannabis sales, a governmental watchdog said Monday. In a 45-page report, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the department has so far failed to document how it monitors state enforcement of a federal ban on marijuana following its issuance in August 2013 of guidance outlining the instances when state-sanctioned dispensaries could face federal indictments. In the 2013 memorandum, then-Deputy Attorney General James Cole instructed U.S. attorneys to focus their prosecutorial efforts on marijuana businesses...
U.S. officials are drafting guidance for financial institutions concerned that accepting deposits from third-party companies serving state-licensed marijuana vendors may violate federal rules against money laundering, say sources.
A number of marijuana dispensaries are attempting to convert their profits into securities and other investments to hedge against the threat of having their bank accounts frozen and subjected to federal asset forfeiture proceedings, say sources.
Tasked to consider whether it can offer regulatory relief to the medical marijuana industry, the U.S. Treasury Department may have few options to persuade reluctant financial institutions to bank state-approved dispensaries.