Cannabis Credit Union In Colorado Hopes To Open In 2015

aquisitionThe Fourth Corner Credit Union, a banking co-op for marijuana businesses, hopes to opens its doors in Colorado on January 1, 2015.
The credit union has already obtained its charter from the state of Colorado plus the notable backing of Gov. Hickenlooper. It however still has to hurdle several steps before it can fully operate. One major step that it has yet to accomplish is getting the approval and insurance of the National Credit Union Administration.

This approval will likely still be pending by the target opening date, but the credit union is allowed by state law to open with pending licenses. That’s because it adheres to standard state credit union licensing and does not need federal approval.

Once open, the banking co-op is anticipated to be an answer to a need in the marijuana industry: proper banking services. All over the state, many cannabis warehouses are full of cash, but banks are too afraid to provide their services because of federal ramifications. Marijuana is still illegal according to federal law, and banks need the federal government’s insurance to do business.

Because of this, pot shops – not just in Colorado but across the country – have no choice but to store ridiculous sums of cash, pay all bills in cash, provide payroll in cash, and shun credit card services for their customers. Bookkeeping becomes a headache, and security needs to be beefed up for dispensaries storing large amounts of cash.

In Colorado particularly, where recreational cannabis has first been legalized, cash flow for marijuana-related stores is huge. For instance, federal investigators got hold of a confidential tip about a certain Denver marijuana store bringing in $500,000 each month in 2011, but whose tax records showed it had raked in $1.4 million for that entire year.

The Fourth Corner Credit Union is just one of the attempts to resolve the marijuana banking conundrum in Colorado. Most recently, in May, a bill was passed to allow marijuana businesses to create a cooperative that functions like a credit union, but with more scrutiny and no insurance from the federal government, according to Rep. Jonathon Singer.

Though the Fourth Corner Credit Union is not related to that bill, it still hopes to work for the same goal.

The credit union has a board that includes the following: Kristi Kelly, Good Meds founder and CEO; Heather Jackson, from the Realm of Caring Foundation; and Paige Figi, mother of Charlotte Figi, the poster-child for juvenile medical cannabis.

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