After a full year of legalization in Colorado and Washington it has become painfully evident that something needed to be done in the finances department. Currently, all marijuana businesses, in any state, are cash only due to the fact that banks are regulated by the federal government.
For years it has been a problem for those legally operating a business in the marijuana industry. It means that not only are all their transactions dealt with in cash, but also that they are moving significantly large amount of cash on a regular basis.
Often times the money is transported in large duffle bags – not truly making these legal businesses feel legal. It has also opened up a very dangerous role for those who have to transport cash from one location to another since criminals are aware of where the dispensaries are located and know all operations are in cash.
In a single month alone Colorado will bring in millions in marijuana sales – all in cash, creating a liability for those working in the shops. Many shops have had to turn to hiring expensive security details in order to keep everyone safe when dealing with this large amount of cash money.
A long-awaited bill was proposed early in July that if passed would allow banks the ability to work with legitimate marijuana businesses in states which have legalized, without fear of backlash from the federal government.
The bill is called The Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act of 2015. If this bill passes it will in no way change the federal stance on marijuana either medical or recreational, however it will allow them access to banks which is much needed and long over-due.
Unfortunately this will have no impact on whether or not the businesses can work with credit card companies – that is a completely separate hurdle which will probably follow not long after this bill passes.
The reason behind this bill is mostly to ensure the safety of those working in the industry. It is unfair to put these people at risk simply because of their line of work. A crook is a crook and he will see that duffle bag as his big payday.
The only thing standing between marijuana businesses and banking is the banks fear of federal interference. This bill will relieve this fear and allow banks to work with companies in this industry – creating more revenue for the banks and a safer environment for all those working in the marijuana industry.