There are stories of marijuana business owners showing up at California’s tax agency offices with trash bags filled with cash, even though the agency generally doesn’t allow cash payments.

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(Yuri Gripas/REUTERS/Newscom)

In a free and just society, laws should be clearly designed and easy to follow so that honest people know the ground rules and can live their lives without fear of running afoul of the government. In fact, it’s the mark of a tyrannical society when laws are contradictory and murky, thus leaving people unable to easily comply despite their best intentions.

Now consider the plight of marijuana businesses in the 33 states and the District of Columbia where either medical marijuana or the adult use of recreational marijuana is legal. State laws, either through voter initiative or legislative action, have allowed these businesses to exist, but federal restrictions force them to operate in a gray area.

The most maddening example involves banking regulations. Marijuana businesses are required to pay excise taxes, but have largely been denied access to banking, insurance and financial services that would facilitate those payments. Fortunately, a measure that will help these businesses use basic financial products passed the House in late September but faces tougher going in the Senate, where a committee vote is expected this fall. (STEVEN GREENHUT)

Posted by The non-Conformist