When last we checked in January on the trials and tribulations of Fourth Corner Credit Union, a state-chartered Colorado credit union formed to provide financial services to the marijuana industry, the credit union had been denied an injunction by a federal district court in Colorado to force the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City to grant the credit union a "master account." It needs that master account to gain access to the banking system. The district court judge ruled that the court was not going to compel the Fed to grant access to a credit union that would facilitate illegal money laundering under federal criminal laws (albeit an activity that is fine and dandy under Colorado law). The court also "hinted" that if it ever got to the merits of the issue of whether Colorado marijuana laws trumped federal marijuana laws, the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution would lead the court to favor federal law.
On April 29th, the credit union appealed the district court's decision to the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. I have not reviewed the appellant's brief, so all I have to go on regarding the arguments to support the appeal thus far are the public statements of the credit union's spokesperson as reported in The Denver Post. Those statements don't fill me with an excess of hope that the credit union's appeal will be successful. The arguments seem to be:
- The Justice Department and FinCEN are "hypocritical" for issuing guidance that would lead banks to believe that they can successfully avoid prosecution under federal law if they follow the guidance without actually allowing them to do so.
- The government bureaucracy moves slowly, so drug money can't be laundered through the banking system and is, thus, "unsecured," and that "scares" the spokesperson.
- A decision was rendered by a Colorado district court judge that marijuana buds were covered under a general liability insurance policy, a decision that the court made clear involved solely state, not federal, law.
- The US Supreme Court declined to hear a lawsuit filed by the states of Nebraska and Oklahoma against the state of Colorado, a decision that was based solely on jurisdictional grounds, in that the alleged harm is being caused by individuals, not by a state, and, therefore, the SCOTUS does not have jurisdiction to hear the case. The attorneys general of Nebraska and Oklahoma can refile the case in federal district court.
There may be fine legal arguments made by the credit union that support its contention that the Fed must issue it a master account. If so, they are not making it into the main stream media. If all it's got is what I read in the newspaper, I'd recommend that the CU roll 'em if its got 'em, don't Bogart the joints, slap a few Cheech & Chong cd's in the boom box, and "get mellow," because the future is looking somewhat gloomy in the real world.
Then again, come November, we have absolutely no idea what kind of wild card the electorate might draw for the Oval Office. We might actually get a president and Congress that will take the Thai Stick by the lit end and burn down the barriers to a full monty of a Mary Jane-friendly society. Or, those of us who haven't rolled a joint in nearly a half century might be compelled to nestle down in the high country with a M249 SAW, a bale of concertina wire, a half-dozen claymores, plenty of bottled water and Tostitos, and several pounds of Ghost Train Haze and Blue Dream. And yes, unlike our former president and future first man, in such circumstances, we would plan to inhale.