This afternoon, the Obama administration delighted marijuana advocates by announcing new guidelines meant to make it easier for cannabis businesses to open bank accounts in states where the drug is legalized.
Whether or not those new guidelines will have much of an affect, however, is an open question.
Financial institutions have largely shunned the pot industry, even in weed-friendly locales like Colorado, out of fear of violating federal drug and banking laws. As a result, dispensaries and growers have had to operate on a mostly cash basis, which is not exactly the most safe or efficient way to run company. They’ve also been denied access to credit.
The new guidelines, released by the Justice and Treasury Departments, essentially give banks an assurance that, as long as they play by the right rules and file the right paperwork, they probably won’t be prosecuted for letting your local pot shop open a checking account. Emphasis on probably. Back in August, the Department of Justice issued a memo stating that it would only focus on prosecuting marijuana businesses that broke state law or committed certain egregious offenses, like trafficking the drug over state lines or selling to minors. The DOJ now says, essentially, that banks are unlikely to be prosecuted so long as they only deal with marijuana customers that play by those rules.
Meanwhile, any financial institution that chooses to offer their services to cannabis businesses will have to file paperwork stating that they believe their customer is operating within the DOJ’s guidelines.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]
A U.S. citizen who is allegedly a member of Al-Qaeda is actively planning attacks against Americans overseas, U.S. officials said, and the Obama administration is wrestling with the question of whether to kill him with a drone strike – and how to do so legally under its new and stricter targeting policy issued last year.
Two officials described the man as an Al-Qaeda facilitator who has been directly responsible for deadly attacks against U.S. citizens overseas, and who continues to plan attacks against them using improvised explosive devices.
He is being watched by CIA drones, but they cannot strike because President Barack Obama’s new policy says only the military could take such actions; because the country where he resides has refused to allow U.S. military action on its soil; and because the Justice Department has not yet built a case against him that shows his killing would be “legal and constitutional” under enemy combatant laws.
Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
See the zombie on the right side? Her name is Shannon Guess Richardson, an actress with a lot of bit parts to her name. She’s the suspect in a ricin case involving letters to Michael Bloomberg and President Obama critical of gun control. She was arrested today. She says her estranged husband made her do it, though that’s sort of in question right now as she failed a polygraph. So yeah, somehow crazier than the other ricin story.
The plot thickens.