As cannabis is still only legal in 22 states and the District of Columbia, federal banks have avoided dealing with cannabis businesses in order to stay out of federal courtrooms. This is one of the industry’s largest pitfalls; the lack of financial regulation, combined with the (now federally-recognized) tolerance of the industry, has fostered circumstances which leave much to the imagination about how cash is handled once transactions are complete.
The ultimate solution is still up for debate, however the first break for establishments in CO was signed into law by Governor John Hickenlooper on Friday: HB 1398. The bill allows for the formation of what it refers to as “marijuana financial service cooperatives” or “credit co-ops”. Dispensaries currently operating as cash-only businesses, suffer due to increased costs of business and risk for criminal activity (due to “large amounts of cash on the premises”).