Sunday, January 12, 2014

Banks refuse to let legal marijuana businesses to open accounts

Banks generally refuse to allow legal marijuana dealers to open bank accounts, according to a front page New York Times story by Serge F. Kovaleski today Sunday January 12, 2014.  This holds even for medical-only businesses, in states besides Colorado, such as Washington. 

  
Banks fear legal ambiguity and being prosecuted by the federal government for money laundering.  The laws and justice department statements right now leave too much up in the air.
  
The result is that dealers (and customers) have to carry extreme amounts of cash, which would obviously raise more security problems.  It sound obvious that this could worry landlords.
  
The link for the story is here
   
The problem sounds as though it could have parallels in other businesses.  Legitimate web hosts could fear certain customers out of “fear”, or landlords could refuse specific individual or corporate tenants for that reason, as noted in a posting Saturday on my main blog.

NBC Washington reports that in Colorado dealers charge about twice as much for recreational marijuana as medical, and sometimes ration it.  Legalization, for recreational use, will be on the ballot in more states, including Alaska. 

A Washington state senator wants to set up a state-run bank for legal marijuana dealers, according to Business Week (story)

The letter of the law seems to mean a little bit less than it did.  


Update: Jan. 15

Remember a 20-20 broadcast in the 1990's when a Montana bank encouraged a farmer to grow marijuana as a reaction to weaker farm prices in order to make enough money to avoid foreclosure.  

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