Holder Confirms DOJ Prepping Guidance for MMJ Banking

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The federal government will issue regulations soon allowing banks to work with marijuana businesses, US Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday.

But it’s unclear what exactly the banking accommodation will entail. While Holder twice mentioned “regulations,” a Justice Department spokesperson later said that the attorney general was referring to “guidance” for prosecutors, according to Politico.

There have been rumors since late last year that the Justice Department was working on guidance similar in nature to the Cole Memo issued in August to US attorneys general across the country. It outlined eight “enforcement priorities” under which the federal government would prioritize prosecution of marijuana businesses.

Cannabusiness activity has swelled in recent months as more entrepreneurs have founded and expanded operations after the release of the Cole Memo.

In his comments Thursday, Holder confirmed that the US Departments of Justice and Treasury were jointly working on the document, which would be released soon. He also acknowledged the safety challenges posed by a large and growing industry operating under an all-cash conditions.

“You don’t want just huge amounts of cash in these places … There’s a public safety component to this,” Holder said in a speech at the University of Virginia. “Huge amounts of cash—substantial amounts of cash just kind of lying around with no place for it to be appropriately deposited is something that would worry me, just from a law enforcement perspective.”