Even if you’re legally selling marijuana according to the laws of your state, the drug’s federal status may keep banks from doing business with you. Seems like the feds are shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to the potential of marijuana as a taxable revenue, but what else is new?
Voters in Washington and Colorado just approved measures legalizing marijuana for recreational use. But businesses that want to sell marijuana in those states will face a problem: No bank wants to do business with them.
I called several banks in Washington. I called a local credit union, a tiny bank in the San Juan islands. Everybody said basically the same thing. Even if selling marijuana is legal under state law, it’s still illegal under federal law. And banks and credit unions worry that this could get them in trouble.
So people who want to go into the marijuana business — who want to legally grow, distribute, sell marijuana in the state — are going to have to operate, basically, like drug dealers. They’re going to have to run a cash business.