Banks Won’t Touch Marijuana

Support of marijuana is at an all time high but there’s still one group that’s not so hot on legal pot:  banks.

Weary to touch money associated with selling an illegal, illicit drug, banks have insisted on steering clear of anything related to pot.  This even includes in places like Oregon and Alaska where marijuana is legal according to state amendments.

This past year Colorado chartered the Fourth Corner Credit Union, a proposed fix for the business of banking weed profits.  The Federal Reserve, citing federal law (i.e. “transporting or transmitting funds known to have derived from the distribution of marijuana is illegal“), rejected the charter.  This effectively blocked it from accessing the national banking system, leaving an estimated $700 million per year, just in Colorado alone, to be handled all cash.

Lack of banking access has forced dispensary owners to keep all cash, which makes business even riskier.  Safety issues and fear of theft are real, but BudTenders and dispensary owners have been left to fend for themselves.

All the more frustrating is that dispensary owners who are proactively paying taxes are being penalized for doing so in cash.  Jamie Perino, CEO of Euflora dispensaries told NBC News, “It’s really frustrating. … When I go to pay my federal taxes, you get a 10 percent penalty for paying in cash, but we can’t have a bank account. So it’s just a big Catch-22.”

Dispensary owners: How are you handling your all cash biz?  What’s your biggest frustration in not having banking support?  How are you coping?  Let’s talk.