Annual EBHS Conference, 39th Annual Economic and Business History Society Conference

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A real buzzkill: How the Controlled Substances Act has stoned legitimate business interests from engaging in the legalized marijuana marketplace
Daniel S. Hoops

Last modified: 2014-03-10


The paper will discuss the history of civil asset forfeitures as a means to prevent criminal activities in the United States.  Initially adopted to curb crimes occurring on the high seas, civil forfeiture evolved into a preferred method to fight the drug war in the 1970s during the Nixon Administration.

Today, states are beginning to soften their stance on medical and recreational marijuana in an effort to reduce prison populations while increasing their tax revenues.  This growing industry, however, faces an uphill battle if commercial banks, professional service providers and real estate owners are threatened with federal asset forfeitures for doing business with marijuana growers and retailers.  The U.S. Department of Justice’s enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act  (21 USC 881(a)(7)) is having a chilling effect on the burgeoning “business of marijuana.”