How Are Things Going With Medical Marijuana In Colorado?

300x300xmarijuana-300x300.jpg.pagespeed.ic_.5VfzFg1zd7.jpgWithout a bank account, pot businesses deal in cash, lots of it, held in safes, handed out in clipped bundles on payday, carried in brown paper bags and cardboard boxes to the tax office and the utility company, ferried around the state by armored vehicles and armed guards. And without access to essential banking services — from credit cards to electronic transfers to loans — those businesses pay a huge premium.

Medical marijuana has been legal in Colorado since 2001, and recreational marijuana use became legal in December 2012. But marijuana businesses have had limited, if any, access to banking services. The federal government considers marijuana illegal and so traditional banks, fearing prosecution for aiding and abetting illegal drug dealers, have shut down pot-business accounts and declined to give loans. Some banks have ferreted out pot entrepreneurs by sniffing their bills, leading to a countermove: bills sprayed with air freshener.

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