Banks shouldn’t trust Obama assurances over marijuana, 41% Americans say

Jake GammonHead of Omnibus, US
February 27, 2014, 8:28 PM GMT+0

As cannabis joints, confectionary and foodstuffs stock the shelves in Colorado’s now-legalized marijuana stores, the new rules opening cannabis for business in the state are supported by 47% of Americans and opposed by 32%.

There is more tentative support for US-wide legalization of cannabis, with 42% of Americans indicating it should be legal to grow and sell marijuana across the country, and 36% of Americans opposed to the idea.

Banks should definitely not trust Obama, according to 29% of nation

Despite being legal under state law, firms involved in growing and selling marijuana in Colorado are struggling to find banks to do business with them – with some firms shutting down due to the inability to get investment funds, and having to pay their taxes in cash.

This is due to a conflict in federal law – by which most banks are governed – which classifies marijuana as an illegal drug and makes it illegal for financial institutions to take money from the cultivation or sales of illegal drugs including marijuana.

The Obama administration issued guidance last week trying to convince banks that it will not prosecute them for doing business with the marijuana trade in Colorado but many banks are still concerned about being prosecuted.

Overall, 41% of Americans think banks shouldn’t trust the guidance, with 29% of Americans saying that banks should definitely not trust the Obama administration and 12% saying they probably should not trust them in their promises not to prosecute them for dealing with marijuana firms in Colorado, while 21% indicate they probably should trust the guidance. Just 18% of Americans think the promise can definitely be trusted.

Older Americans are less likely to trust the Obama administration’s assurance, with 39% of over-54s and 15% of 18-34 year olds indicating that banks should definitely not trust the guidance that they would not be prosecuted.

Nation divided over legalization for banks

An act of Congress might be required to change the rules regulating banks’ dealings with marijuana growers and suppliers – and one quarter of Americans feel that it should be legal for banks to be able to take money from marijuana suppliers and growers, so long as they operate in states where it is legal. But the nation is divided over a potential legalization for banks, as one in five Americans strongly oppose the proposals while one in four strongly support them.

Men and younger Americans more supportive of legalization

While opposition to the legalization in Colorado – which came into effect in January this year – is equal among the sexes, men (51%) are more likely than women (43%) to support the move. Younger respondents (51% of 18-34 and 35-54 year olds) are more likely to support than those aged 55 and over (40%).

US-wide legalization also has more support among men and younger people – 46% of men and 39% of women think the drug should be legal across all US states. Opposition to US-wide legalization is strongest among over-54s (44%) than 18-34 year olds (27%).

South most opposed to Colorado legalization, but West to US-wide

Those living in the South of the US are most likely to be opposed to Colorado’s decision – 34% of southerners don’t support the decision, as opposed to 29% living in the West who disagree with the decision. But residents of the South are less averse to a US-wide legalization – 27% living in the South would say ‘no’ to a nationwide legalization, less than in the Northeast (35%), the Midwest (36%) and the West (34%).

When it comes to Americans who passionately support or oppose the legalization of marijuana across the country, college grads tend to feel strongly in support while over-55s tend to have strong feelings against nationwide legalization.

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Image: Getty