In Colorado, Pot Industry Gets a Bank Account
Marijuana businesses will pool money in cooperatives
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 8, 2014 7:24 AM CDT
In this Jan. 11, 2010 photo, a worker shows a marijuana bud for sale at the Lotus Medical dispensary in Denver.   (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

(Newser) – Colorado lawmakers have approved the world's first financial system for the marijuana industry, a network of uninsured cooperatives designed to give pot businesses a way to access basic banking services. The plan, approved yesterday, seeks to move the marijuana industry away from its cash-only roots. Banks routinely reject pot businesses for even basic services such as checking accounts because they fear running afoul of federal law, which considers marijuana and its proceeds illegal. The result: Pot shop owners deal in large amounts of cash, which makes them targets for criminals. Or they try to find ways around the problem, like drenching their proceeds in air freshener to remove the stink of marijuana and try to fool traditional banks into accepting their money.

The US Treasury Department said in February that banks could serve the marijuana industry under certain conditions. With the industry emerging from the underground, states want to track marijuana sales and collect taxes. It's a lot easier to do that when the businesses have bank accounts. But most banks have shrugged at the Treasury guidelines, calling them too onerous to accept marijuana-related clients. The bill would allow marijuana businesses to pool money in cooperatives, but the co-ops would only take effect if the US Federal Reserve agrees to allow them to do things like accept credit cards or checks.

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Showing 3 of 6 comments
Arthur Vandelay
May 9, 2014 10:40 AM CDT
you just got to love these lefties. Cigarette smoking is bad for your health let us ban it BUT pot smocking is good for you. America you are toast.
TessTalks
May 8, 2014 8:51 PM CDT
Whoever thought banks weren't going to get a piece of the pot pie, has to be really high.
BrushMan
May 8, 2014 12:36 PM CDT
". . . . like drenching their proceeds in air freshener to remove the stink of marijuana and try to fool traditional banks into accepting their money." How would the "stink" of MJ get into the currency? And what would that have to do the bank accepting it or not? I live in Colorado and have never heard of such a thing as skunk $.