DOJ Has Concerns About Marijuana Banking Bill, Newly Surfaced Memo Reveals

DOJ Has Concerns About Marijuana Banking Bill, Newly Surfaced Memo Reveals
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The Department of Justice sent a memo to the congressional lawmakers about a marijuana banking bill that’s expected to be taken up imminently, saying the legislation as drafted could “significantly complicate law enforcement investigations and prosecutions” of crimes involving other drugs or money laundering. However, the agency did suggest that the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act is fixable from its perspective and offered guidance on how to resolve various issues. The memo, first noted by Punchbowl News, is reportedly the result of a request from Republican senators for DOJ to analyze the bill. “Because marijuana would remain illegal under federal law, Congress should ensure efforts to provide access to financial services for state-legal businesses does not unintentionally erect obstacles to prosecution of other illicit activity or activities involving money laundering of proceeds of other illegal drugs or sales of marijuana that do not comply with state requirements,” DOJ wrote. The SAFE Banking Act “purports to exempt the proceeds of ‘cannabis-related legitimate businesses’ from certain money laundering statutes,” it said. “This exemption is drafted broadly and could create an immunity shield around activities of cannabis businesses that involve other illicit drugs or activities.” To address the issue, DOJ said that the exemption “should be limited to the proceeds of ‘cannabis-related legitimate businesses’ derived from marijuana-related activities in compliance with state law.” Another key concern, according to the department, is a possible implication for money laundering prosecutions that it says may be inadvertently shielded in the House-passed legislation, which is expected to be a major component of a bill that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is finalizing for the lame duck session, that’s been referred to as “SAFE Plus.” “The bill would essentially create a possible defense to a money laundering charge—and an extra burden of proof for investigators…

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Source : DOJ Has Concerns About Marijuana Banking Bill, Newly Surfaced Memo Reveals

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