Colorado marijuana co-op bill hopes to ease banking woes


Colorado legislators have tried for years to find a state-centric solution to federal banking regulations as they apply to marijuana — rules that have forced many shops to deal mainly in cash. But previous efforts have failed, and many observers thought this year’s attempt at laying the groundwork for so-called marijuana co-operatives would meet the same fate. But the bill passed — barely — and awaits Governor John Hickenlooper’s signature.
What’s the measure do? Will co-ops ever come to pass? Or is the effort mainly symbolic? Here’s what Representative Jonathan Singer, the bill’s sponsor, has to say:

House Bill 14-1398, on view below, is complicated, Singer concedes — “but if I was to tell you what it did in a sentence or two, I’d say that it creates a financial services cooperative for the marijuana industry that’s otherwise up until this point been unbanked. It gives businesses the opportunity to form a cooperative that works like a credit union, but with even more scrutiny — and no federal insurance.”
In addition, Singer continues, “It allows us to fire a shot across the bow of the Federal Reserve. Not only does it give them a plan for what we think banking should look like for marijuana if traditional banks can’t step up to the plate, but it would actually put in place these cooperatives, which would make those arguments for the state. Because the federal government doesn’t deal in hypotheticals.”
More over at the Denver Westword.