Banks including Citigroup and Bank of America were happy to look the other way when customers used their credit and debit cards to buy marijuana online, said lawyers defending two men accused of defrauding banks into processing pot purchases. “Marijuana is a big business and it’s big business for everyone involved, including the banks,” Christopher Tayback, a lawyer for Hamid Akhavan, told jurors in closing arguments following a three-week trial in Manhattan federal court. Though marijuana has been legalized for either recreational or medicinal use in a majority of U.S. states, it remains illegal under federal law, meaning many cannabis businesses continue to operate outside the financial system. The House passed a bill in 2019 allowing banks to provide credit-card and banking services to legal marijuana businesses, but it didn’t get a Senate vote. Akhavan and his co-defendant, Ruben Weigand, worked as consultants for Eaze Technologies Inc., a San Francisco company that runs a site where customers can order cannabis products from dispensaries.
420 Intel – Marijuana Industry News, 03/23/2021 20:00:00