Cruel and unusual
Institutions like JPMorgan Chase Bank have made it clear they will not work with the marijuana industry until it's federally legal to do so. It's never been clear that it wouldn't accept accounts from people who buy from the industry. But that's the situation allegedly facing couple Joy Wood and Phil Rockwell.
Wood, a 44-year-old alcohol counselor, says she first got an inkling that her bank account was in trouble when her phone bill payments bounced in recent months. She looked and found two phone payments had been rejected, she says, as well as two rent payments. In short order, the couple was evicted from Champions at Nor'wood. (The apartment complex would not confirm personal information when contacted by the Indy.)
Chase refused to specify the reason for the termination, Wood says (and Chase did not respond to requests for comment). The reason didn't dawn on her, she says, until Rockwell, 47, found his account had been closed last week and they visited the bank's fraud division where she says certain transactions were circled by an employee as problematic.
"The Branch manager told us the account was restricted and Chase no longer wished to continue a relationship. When she circled all dispensary purchases as possibly questionable in her opinion, it dawned on me that my account had been closed for the very same reason a month prior," Wood writes in an email. The charges were incurred at Medical Cannabis Caregivers, according to a bank printout. "Honestly, that's the craziest thing I've ever heard," responded MCC manager Robert Pecqueur when contacted. He added that he could not reveal customer information.
In a follow-up phone call, a sobbing Wood says the couple experiences constant pain from carbon-monoxide poisoning, and that her identity was stolen at the same time her account was being closed, resulting in a rash of confusing charges and overdraft fees still owed the bank. Rockwell also has funds on hold, he says Chase has told him, as the bank waits to issue remaining monies and close the account until all checks have cleared.
"We are evicted and staying in a hotel," Wood says, adding: "I lost everything."
You get a gun, you get a gun
Colorado group Guns for Everyone (gunsforeveryone.com) is pushing for a state initiative that would not disallow marijuana users from receiving concealed-carry licenses. The current application asks if the gun owner is an "unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana." The Durango Herald reports the effort would need 86,105 signatures to place the question on the ballot if it is certified by the title board.