Denver leaders demand feds allow banks to work with marijuana businesses

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DENVER -- The Denver City Council is demanding that the federal government take steps to allow Colorado banks to take on marijuana businesses as customers.

By a 13-0 vote Monday, council members approved a proclamation urging “swift federal action” to help bank and other financial institutions serve legal marijuana operations.

“Please Washington, please grow up and let this business be a business and have a normal banking relationship like any other business,” said District 6 Councilman Charlie Brown. “This is absurd, this is ridiculous,” he added, referring to the current cash-only system.

By federal law, banks are not allowed to work with businesses that deal in controlled substances. That’s forced the marijuana industry to rely solely on cash for its transactions. Bank loans and credit cards are not an option. Many pot stores have hired armed guards.

“It’s keeping the business secure from burglaries, it’s protecting the consumers when they’re showing up with cash,” said Michael Elliott, Marijuana Industry Group Executive Director.

Until federal law is amended, the hands of Colorado’s banks are tied.

“The people of Colorado have spoken and this is the law we want to have,” said Don Childears, Colorado Bankers Association President. “It’s simply this issue of state and federal law being in conflict.”

Childears said federal regulators have told banks that know they have marijuana accounts to get rid of them right away. Only Congress will be able to make an exception for certain Colorado businesses.

“We want to make sure they hear us, sort of like Horton Hears a Who,” said District 7 Councilman Chris Nevitt, who introduced Monday’s proclamation. “All of us have to shout as loudly as possible so the elephant can hear what we’re trying to say."


  • Darlene

    This is sooo ridiculous! feds, grow the hell up and realize your war on drugs has been an IMMENSE FAILURE! Especially marijuana which HAS MEDICAL BENEFITS, IS FAR SAFER THEN ALCOHOL PLUS THEY ARE WORKING ON GETTING THE EFFECT THAT GETS YOU HIGH OUT OF THE PLANTS SO PPL CAN GET THE MEDICAL BENNIES HEY NEED! PLUS I’d much rather see someone with a joint that will get them high then with a glass of hard alcohol.

  • Dan

    I agree that this makes no sense. However, until things change there is a company, GROWLIFE, that has a new GIFT Program. From my understanding it is a program to help marijuana businesses get started that can’t get loans from banks. They are publicly traded. They may be able to help some of these companies out. There stock symbol is PHOT…check them out.

  • Jacob

    I agree with Greg below, “Denver leaders are idiots” – they were the ones that got us into this mess, now they are trying to break federal law to support illegal operations? It doesn’t matter if Amendment 64 passed or not – the fact is that this is an industry that is selling drugs to people to for profit – otherwise, those that sell it are profiting on other people’s demise and addiction. Marijuana IS addictive for some, and even though it may not seem like it’s causing any harm to a person’s body or brain right away, in the long-run it still takes a toll that is similar to long-term alcohol / cocaine / use etc. Plus, if you smoke it, it can cause lung cancer just as much as smoking cigarettes, especially because of the deep smoke inhales one has to take…. get educated first before you support this industry. Go back to school instead of believing opinions only.

  • Elise

    Jacob. How old are you? What kind of research have you done that backs up your erroneous claims? Long term health risks that are similar to alcohol and cocaine? You very obviously have no idea what youre talking about and should probably stop talking. Youre making yourself sound very ignorant and dumb.

  • Jacob

    Elise – HOW OLD ARE YOU? Grow up. What kind of research have you done to back up your jaded claims? Drugs all have an affect on the body and on the brain – duh – if you want to go into the details about the specific effects they have, let’s say on the frontal lobe of the brain (located at the front of the brain and is associated with reasoning, motor skills, higher level cognition, and expressive language), then I may understand your question. You obviously have no idea what YOU are talking about if you are ignorant of the fact that 1) this is a drug that just masks pain (those that need it for medical purposes) and 2) causes permanent long-term cognitive decline.

  • Barak

    Why don’t we just start up a state run bank, insured by a private insurance company thereby ignoring the federal government. If the fed’s aren’t involved and and our state constitution has pot being legal, then I don’t see why this this cant happen. Granted the business still would not be able to accept credit cards but it takes care of the cash in the mattress issue and will allow these business to pay their sales and excise taxes electronically.

  • jay

    alcohol and cocaine like pot? umm no freaking way, i would be able to smoke then drink myself to death or black out and kill someone, or have a heart attack from doing too much coke at one time, ive smoked alot of pot at one time, and all i did was get extremely happy and creative, not to mention the local restaurants i visited that day also benefited from pot craze, where as a bottle of rum or whiskey would of landed me in jail and outrageous fines, all in all, pot is alot safer then what people think

  • Dave

    Hey jacob. I guess if you don’t support businesses that sell things that could hurt a person, you don’t support liquor stores? Gun Stores? Gas Stations that sell cigarettes? Weed shops are the same as these guys. We have programs to help people with addiction problems. It isn’t the gov’t or businesses responsibility to protect them from themselves. The vast majority of the population prefer to enjoy these things responsibility. The businesses should be allowed to operate.

  • NativeColoRN

    Jacob is CORRECT! the others with their snide uninformed remarks, are showing emotional biase and ignorance!
    This current issue is ONE of MANY when people try to have state law trump FEDERAL law!.. and only allowed because we have a gutless dept of Justice led by Eric Holder, who only selectively enforces laws!
    There ARE MANY issues with MJ, and there is clinical information that backs the facts that MJ is NOT the happy, friendly,benign drug many dellusional people have conned themselves into believing. Information from:, and other leading clinics in the U S.
    This passed law is BAD LAW, is a “patchwork quilt” of where it is legal, where it IS NOT. Nothing Consistent. They still haven’t got it right with the medical MJ issue, now comes this train wreck.

  • Shmuelman

    1. The reason that the feds have not intervened with Amendment 64 as they believed they have no standing and it would be a loser for them. This would open the floodgates of legalization so they are avoiding the issue. On the other hand, banks that launder hundreds of billions of dollars of cartel and terrorist moneys are subject to small fine without having to admit wrongdoing.
    2. The laws of the State of Colorado are clear. There was a Constitutional Amendment passed by the voters that could not be overturned by the courts as it is not discriminatory. What do you expect the “idiots” in the city council to do? Do you expect them to break the law that was enacted by the citizenry? They are legally bound to fulfill Amendment 64.

  • Barak

    yeah I’m so likely to believe the CDC or NIH about their views on MJ, cause they have no bias what so ever. hahaha
    If you are going to outlaw things because there are issues, then why is alcohol still legal which has WAY WAY worse short and long term effects on the body, while we are at it, let’s make ciggs illegal too, those are no good for you, let’s also ban stress cause that harms that body; but keep those pharma drugs legal even though half of the side effects include death. Not to mention the side effects from big pharma have a longer list than the things they are ‘supposedly’ curing.
    You are more than welcome to live in a nanny state and you are also welcome to move to a different state that has different views on MJ.

    In regards to State and Federal law, if you read the constitution, The States are supposed to have more rights than the Federal Government, this was by design of our founding fathers so that the Federal Government did not start acting like the Monarchy (like they are) they were escaping from. (please refer to the 10th amendment to The US Constitution)

    The war on drugs has failed (like prohibition did) and needs to be stopped. Imprisonment and ruining of peoples lives over pot needs to come to an end.

    You are welcome to live your life the way you chose, but stop pushing your bias’ on others.

  • Elise

    Jacob. I have just spent a good amount of time doing the research for you and I have not been able to find anything that says Marijuana use causes as you say, “Permanent” cognitive decline. Care to link me to those studies smarty? If not, please I beg you, stop talking! Like I said you’re making yourself sound really, really dumb.

    Also, while you’re at it I had a hard time finding anything that likens marijuana use to cocaine use. If you could shoot that over to me also. I would love to read it as well.

  • Josh @ vape2you

    It’s definitely time for banks to start working with marijuana related businesses. These businesses bring money into the municipality, and is legal in many of them. Having to deal in cash brings out too many security issues. I really hope they get this one figured out.

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