Talk about a two-fer! Washington DC marijuana legalization took a large step forward today in terms of tolerance, while legitimate marijuana businesses throughout the country may soon see the support they deserve from financial institutions.
A report by the Drug Policy Alliance confirms two critical Senate committee decisions today. The first will allow for taxed and licensed cannabis stores to open throughout the District of Columbia, and the second will relax federal regulations against providing banking services to marijuana stores.
Rather than leave recreational enthusiasts to grow their own (simply not an option for some) or try their luck on the still-very-illegal black market, the DC law would provide safe, fair and open access for all. Local law enforcement and community leaders have been complaining about the aftermath of legalization, with dealers themselves calling it the “dealer protection act of 2015”.
Supporters of realistic drug policies are citing these decisions as major milestones in the inevitable crawl toward federal legalization. The DC bill will override a congressional ban on the regulation of marijuana sales in the District, while the financial services bill actively supports a fully tolerant approach to cannabis by allowing banks to interact with legitimate businesses nationwide.
As it stands, cannabis stores are being forced to keep their dealings in cash, leading to security risks, taxation challenges and a general lack of transparency in the industry. If this decision becomes law, those businesses will be allowed to accept cards, store cash securely (like, in a bank) and report accurately on their sales.
Michael Collins, policy manager at Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs, was enthusiastic about the decisions.
“The stage has been set to end the federal government’s failed war on marijuana,” he said. “A bi-partisan consensus has emerged in favor of reform.”
With Washington DC marijuana legalization being celebrated left and right, the momentum (and rational thinking) keeps blazing through the capital!