PBI Chair Ellen Brown’s latest article explains how the US itself is the largest money launderer of cannabis cash. The IRS accepts money from the cannabis industry in the majority of states where the herb is now legal to some degree, as payment of taxes — turning it into “clean” money — all the while continuing to brand growers and dispensaries criminal enterprises. The arrangement results in massive US profits.
As the will of the people moves rapidly toward legalization in light of mounting evidence of cannabis’ significant therapeutic value, the industry remains in banking limbo. Ellen writes: “If the government can accept marijuana money for taxes, banks should be able to accept it.”
To that end, a bipartisan coalition of state attorneys general sent a letter Jan 16 to leaders in Congress requesting legislation to “provide a safe harbor” for banks that provide financial products or services to state-legal marijuana businesses.
“The government makes a massive profit off the deal, snatching up to 70 percent of the proceeds of the reporting businesses, as opposed to the more typical rate of 30 percent … [since they] are not entitled to deduct their costs when reporting their income.
This is not only a clear case of the unequal protection of the laws but is a clear admission by the government that it is knowingly accepting illegal funds. The government is a principal beneficiary of a business the government itself has made illegal.