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Table of Contents

Lead Story

Mobile security and the rule of thumb

News

Industry Update

Fed outlines its vision for payments

Stars align for medical marijuana sales

With new mPOS device, JUSP eyes U.S. market

Can NFC survive without Apple?

Selling Prepaid

Ventra Card goes live in Chicago

Views

Does checkbox PCI compliance leave MSPs exposed?

Chris Bucolo
ControlScan Inc.

Will EMV save us from fraud?

Cliff Teston
Signature Card Services

Education

Street SmartsSM:
For richer or poorer: MLS views on customer longevity

Dale S. Laszig
Castles Technology Co. Ltd.

Selling today: Consultative, not transactional

Michael Gavin
Merchant Warehouse

Seven tips for a successful mass PCI compliance program: Part 3

Michelle Thompson
FirstMerit Bank NA

Company Profile

Live Reps Call Center

New Products

1stPayPOS

1stPayPOS
First American Payment Systems

Inspiration

Boosting customer retention

Departments

Resource Guide

Datebook

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The Green Sheet Online Edition

October 14, 2013  •  Issue 13:10:01

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Stars align for medical marijuana sales

In a statement released in August 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice said it will no longer pursue prosecutions of marijuana dispensaries that operate in accordance with state laws and regulations.

The decision, in the form of a memorandum to federal prosecutors, came in the lead-up to a U.S. Senate hearing in which department officials stated they are working with the U.S. Department of the Treasury on a plan that allows marijuana dispensaries to maintain bank accounts. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., called the hearing to examine conflicts between state and federal marijuana laws.

To date, 21 states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes; 16 of those also have decriminalized possession of small amounts of pot. Washington and Colorado were the latest to join the group, having legalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana and set in motion processes for state regulations that address how pot is produced and distributed in those states.

"These new laws are just the latest examples of the growing tension between federal and state marijuana laws, and they underscore the persistent uncertainty about how such conflicts will be resolved," Sen. Leahy said.

Backing away from prosecutions

Two years ago, the DOJ forced shut downs of several marijuana dispensaries in California on grounds that they violated federal law. That had a chilling effect on relationships between dispensaries and financial services companies. Banks have been refusing to open accounts for marijuana dispensaries, as have merchant services providers, fearing the federal government would prosecute them for working with criminal enterprises. As a result, many dispensaries operate as cash-only businesses, even going so far as to pay taxes and state licensing fees in cash.

In late August, the DOJ issued a memo instructing federal prosecutors to de-prioritize enforcement of marijuana laws against state-licensed dispensaries, provided they are in compliance with state regulations. And in response to questions posed by Sen. Leahy, Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole said his office is working with Treasury officials on the banking conundrum, although he didn't elaborate.

In related news, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., introduced legislation in Congress that would put marijuana dispensaries on an equal footing with other businesses under the federal tax code. The legislation would accord dispensaries the same tax advantages as other businesses, including deducting business expenses and depreciating American-made irrigation equipment.

Note: For additional news coverage, please visit the Breaking Industry News section of our home page, www.greensheet.com .

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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