Oregon Upgrades For Cash-Carrying Pot Businesses

217It looks like Oregon is building the next entrepreneurial haven for legal marijuana businesses. The state recently revealed its plans to put up measures that would greatly help medical and recreational cannabis companies, especially those that are relying on cash transactions.

For one, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission intends to spend over $600,000 in upgrades so it can handle the influx of pot companies bringing in huge amounts of cash for sales taxes. The commission is also considering opening a new office in southern Oregon so legal pot entrepreneurs in the area won’t have to drive to Portland with huge sums of cash in the vehicles.

Another planned improvement is the addition of a dedicated window on the agency’s current facility to specifically cater to cash-paying cannabis companies.

According to Steven Marks, executive director of the commission, approximately 30% of Oregon’s existing medical marijuana businesses pay their tax bills using cash. This is because even though the state has legalized marijuana sales, pot business owners still lack banking options due to the federal status of marijuana as illegal. Forced to use cash in their transactions, these entrepreneurs face security and public safety risks.

So far across the country, a handful of local banks and community cooperatives have been setting up mechanisms to help cannabis entrepreneurs with their banking needs.

But they are not always successful. Just earlier this month, the cannabusiness-friendly MBank announced that it would soon be shutting down its cannabis accounts because of the high cost of compliance. This was considered an unfortunate industry loss, as MBank was considered one of the models in terms of how banks could work with marijuana companies.

Still, there are indications that legal cannabis companies are finding ways to avail of banking services. A review of IRS reports since last year found that more than 1,7000 “marijuana limited” activity reports have been filed by financial institutions.

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