Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP - Carrie L. Bonnington and Derek M. Mayor
...[T]he tension between federal prohibition and state legalization of marijuana, medical and recreational, is perhaps most paramount with regard to issues involving banking, federal taxes, and employment. For all three subject matters, the general consensus is federal prohibition trumps state legalization.
With regard to banking, due to federal banking laws, marijuana money transfers cannot be effectuated through credit card companies or debit networks, and revenues obtained by marijuana enterprises cannot be stored in FDIC-insured banks.
With regard to taxes, among other things, marijuana businesses cannot deduct business expenses for federal tax purposes. And, with regard to employment, for national employers, especially those with government contracts and zero-tolerance drug policies, it appears that employers cannot be punished for enforcing their drug policies even if they prohibit state-sanctioned marijuana use.