Reefer Relief 

Public banks may finally provide a solution for marijuana industry banking

click to enlarge bigstock-detail-of-trimmed-cannabis-col-211815217.jpg

A salient solution to dispensaries' cash-only conundrum has surfaced in California. State-owned banks may be the answer to finally allowing marijuana businesses to open bank accounts.

One of the industry's major issues with pedaling a product still not legitimately recognized by the federal government is that banking like a regular businesses is out of the question. That's because most banks are regulated by the Federal Reserve.

While not expressly forbidden, banks have a regulatory responsibility to keep a close on eye its clients to make sure their financial affairs are on the up and up. That includes keeping an eye out for money laundering, sales to minors and cross-border sales.

If the feds find something shady going on with a marijuana business, and the bank doesn't catch it, they could have to answer for their oversight. Not to mention the Department of Justice can still enforce federal law at will in regards to marijuana—a distinct possibility, especially in today's political setting.

All that adds up to a big "no thank you" from the vast majority of banks. Many online anecdotes tell of banks not only flat-out denying accounts, but even closing the personal accounts of those associated with the marijuana industry.

Credit unions have stepped in to provide some relief, but the services are limited and still leave marijuana businesses with plenty of cash-only transactions, as even credit card companies are leery of marijuana money.

Credit unions must also still apply for charters under the National Credit Union Administration and adhere to various national regulations, creating the same difficulties national banks bear.

Even businesses serving the marijuana industry are at risk without even touching a bud.

As a result, marijuana businesses are dealing with hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions, of dollars in cash every year—and security is an issue.

Heinous crimes and robberies victimizing marijuana business operators spurred citizen groups to brainstorm ways to address the issues. Some of these groups have helped support the idea of state-regulated banks.

States in which marijuana is legal must worry about tax collection as well. Tax collection offices will see marijuana businesses pay their dues in hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash. This has led to security concerns at collection offices as well.

But if the buck stopped with the state, then banks wouldn't have to worry about violating some overbearing federal law and losing their license. State-regulated banks would be much more likely to open accounts for marijuana and marijuana-related businesses.

The states could offer their own insurance and regulations under their own laws, which include legal marijuana, providing much of the same service as national banks. Taxes could be paid with ease.

Of course, some issue will remain, such as using federal wire services in transferring money, but businesses stand to gain much more in the way of security.

With all roads leading back to the ubiquitous federal government, bringing banking under state and local jurisdictions may just be the solution the marijuana industry needs for now.


More by Nick Meyers

  • High Reward

    Growing evidence suggests access marijuana makes communities safer—and it hurts beer sales
    • Dec 14, 2017
  • Sinister Scheduling

    New Insys THC spray, Syndros, receives Schedule II DEA classification
    • Dec 7, 2017
  • Cannabidiol Confusion

    A contradictory DCS policy leads back to Arizona’s anti-marijuana administration
    • Nov 30, 2017
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Legalization Props

    Prop 205 moves forward despite effort to challenge initiatives
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • Sinister Substitutes

    Major anti-pot campaign funder lands DEA approval of THC drug amidst flurry of lawsuits
    • Apr 6, 2017

The Range

Betsy DeVos Exercises Her Freedom of $peech

Pecan Needs a Home

The Latest U.S. International Reading Scores Are Flat

More »

Latest in Medical MJ

  • High Reward

    Growing evidence suggests access marijuana makes communities safer—and it hurts beer sales
    • Dec 14, 2017
  • Sinister Scheduling

    New Insys THC spray, Syndros, receives Schedule II DEA classification
    • Dec 7, 2017
  • More »

Most Commented On

Facebook Activity

© 2017 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation