Marijuana Investment Funds Struck Down by Colorado Lawmakers

After a heated debate, the nation’s first proposed state-backed investment bank for the marijuana business failed Tuesday in the Colorado House. The proposed trust was intended to provide a means for Colorado medical marijuana-based businesses to borrow money and do their banking as well. A Denver criminal defense attorney with experience handling complex medical marijuana cases notes that many financial institutions are hesitant to work with these types of businesses because marijuana is federally illegal, and FDIC-insured banks won’t accept marijuana money.

While the fact remains that medical marijuana is a legitimate business in Colorado, the measure was struck down because many lawmakers, both Democrat and Republican, believed it would create conflict between state and federal law.Even though the fund was rejected outright, preliminary approval was given to several other new regulations for Colorado’s booming medical marijuana economy.

The bill will relax residency requirements for people working in pot dispensaries, so that owners but not employees have to have been in Colorado for two years, extends by one year, to summer 2012, a moratorium on new dispensaries, and also sets up privacy requirements for how dispensaries handle patient records, and requires caregivers growing pot in their homes to register their operations with local authorities. In addition, the bill sets a new 500-plant limit for makers of infused marijuana products, such as pot brownies. Dispensaries would be able to sell no more than six nonflowering plants to a patient within a three-month period.

The measure will face a more formal vote in the House before heading to the Senate.

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