Pubdate: Fri, 28 Feb 2014
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Copyright: 2014 The Washington Times, LLC.
Author: Aaron Smith


The Feb. 24 column "Banks must just say no to drug money," by Robert 
B. Charles, a former U.S. assistant secretary of state for 
international narcotics and law enforcement, was full of inaccuracies 
and highly suspect legal analysis.

We can start with his assertion that marijuana is more dangerous - 
and even more addictive - than tobacco. Saying this in 2014 
essentially puts Mr. Charles in the Flat Earth Society. Beyond that, 
his belief that banks, acting in accordance with Justice Department 
guidance, will be sued for allegedly wrongful acts by their 
state-regulated cannabis business customers does not seem to have any 
legal basis. Is Mr. Charles aware of any lawsuits along the lines of 
those he has outlined - suits filed against banks that have paid 
fines for money laundering? I'm not.

Mr. Charles was a government official involved in reducing the 
illegal drug trade. As such, one would think that he would support 
state efforts to take the marijuana industry out of the hands of drug 
cartels and allow state-regulated businesses to control production 
and sales, with tax revenues being produced for the state. Instead, 
Mr. Charles is using his former title to scare banks away from 
bringing the marijuana industry above ground and into a regulated system.

AARON SMITH Executive director National Cannabis Industry Association Washington
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