Search Results: banks (117)

Ray Stern
Finding banking services for his business, Encanto Green Cross, has been difficult for Nick Kriaris.

On a recent Friday afternoon, Nick Kriaris, owner of Encanto Green Cross medical-marijuana dispensary in Phoenix, and his brother, Chris, tried to open an account at Bank of America for their nonprofit business with $420 in cash.
The attempt at the bank branch at 3030 North Central Avenue was, to some extent, a stunt, from the pot-culture-inspired amount of the initial deposit to the dispensary employee videotaping his bosses. They knew the odds of success were minimal, if not zero.
But if the bank agreed to take the medical-marijuana retail shop’s money, it would have been something of a minor historical moment. Although dozens of dispensaries are authorized to operate in the state, no bank will deal openly with them — yet.
Ray Stern has all of the details over at the Phoenix New Times

If medical marijuana rolls out in November, people with legal businesses related to pot will be living like they’re in Breaking Bad. Until weed is legal on a federal level, it’s not going to be easy for people to stick their profits from the biz into a Wells Fargo. They’ll be stuck keeping tons of cash under the floor boards.
Sally Kent, a marijuana lawyer who practices in both Colorado and Florida, says this legal lag poses a huge security risk.

In what would be a major shift towards the acceptance of cannabis by the federal government, Attorney General Eric Holder yesterday announced that banks and credit card companies would soon be allowed to open accounts with state-legal cannabis operations.
For years banks have denied or closed accounts with medical dispensaries because banks are federally insured and are barred from dealing with money they know comes from a federally-illegal operation. It’s caused the businesses to become cash-heavy targets for robberies in California and Colorado.

THC Finder

​Even as protesters decrying how out of touch bankers are with everyday Americans are occupying Wall Street, home of America’s banking industry, many financial institutions in states where medical marijuana is legal are refusing to do business with cannabis dispensaries.

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized medicinal marijuana, but possession or sale of cannabis for any use is still illegal under federal law. It is this disconnect that is giving rise to an unwillingness on the part of many banks to do business with the marijuana collectives.
The banks fear that federal regulators will target them, reports Kathryn Glass at Fox Business, because the federal government says that banks which do business with dispensaries are supporting activities that are illegal under federal law.

Photo: Education News Colorado
Rep. Tom Massey: “It’s not going to go away. It’s a legitimate business in Colorado.”

​Colorado lawmakers on Monday debated and rejected a plan for the state to back an investment bank for the medical marijuana business. The plan would have meant the state was taking a more active role in the financing of medicinal cannabis dispensaries.

As part of a bill to tweak regulations for the medical marijuana industry, state Rep. Tom Massey (R-Poncha Springs) proposed an amendment to create investment trusts for dispensaries, reports John Ingold at The Denver Post. The state Department of Revenue would have overseen the trusts and set up the rules for them.

Graphic: DarkGovernment

​Federal regulators stepped into a firestorm of controversy recently when they ordered banks in California’s North Coast area to spy on the transactions of customers who are suspected of making money in the medical marijuana business.

In a heavy-handed bid to crack down on California’s cannabis industry, federal officials have ordered the banks to look out for “suspicious activity” by dispensary owners, reports Clarence Walker at AlterNet. That is making it very difficult for medical marijuana dispensaries which are legal under state, but not federal law, to conduct business.

Graphic: Reality Catcher
If you’re a marijuana dispensary operator, Wells Fargo now says your money’s not green enough. Or maybe too green. Anyway, they don’t want your business.

​Wells Fargo — which, according to medical marijuana dispensary owners, was the only bank in Colorado which wanted their business — has stopped opening new accounts for dispensaries.

Cristie Drumm, spokeswoman for Wells Fargo, said the bank is looking at state and federal laws to determine what risk the bank runs in working with dispensaries, reports John Ingold at The Denver Post.
“We’re not actively opening accounts with these businesses at this time,” Drumm said.
The bank hasn’t said if it would close its existing dispensary accounts, but the news has many dispensary owners wondering if they might lose a key part of their business plans.
“We wouldn’t have a bank to put our money in,” said Ryan Vincent of The Health Center in Denver. “I don’t know what we would do. We’d probably have to start rallying to put together a credit union.”

Crime rates at Denver dispensaries are only half that at banks, lower than at liquor stores, and equal to that at pharmacies, according to a police study

​A Denver Police Department analysis says that medical marijuana dispensaries in the city were robbed or burglarized at a lower rate last year than either banks or liquor stores, reports John Ingold at The Denver Post.

According to the analysis, in a memo authored by Division Chief Tracie Keesee for Denver City Council members, the robbery and burglary rate for dispensaries in 2009 was equivalent to that of pharmacies.
This is the first time Denver police have compared crime at dispensaries with crime at other businesses. Police spokesman John White declined to speculate on the bigger meaning of the numbers until the department can do a more thorough analysis.

After the SAFE Banking Act, a measure that would allow banks and financial institutions to serve legal marijuana companies, passed the U.S. House of Representatives on September 25, Colorado Congressman Ed Perlmutter was confident of the bill’s chances in the Senate.

“There have been good signs coming out of the Senate indicating that they’re interested in moving this bill forward,” he told a crowd of marijuana regulators and business owners at Denver’s Marijuana Management Symposium in October, adding that he expected the Senate to vote on the bill “over the next two to three months.”

The United States House of Representatives just approved a bill that would allow banks and financial institutions to serve marijuana businesses in states where it is legal without risking federal prosecution, marking a landmark step towards marijuana reform.

Introduced by Colorado Representative Ed Perlmutter, the SAFE Banking Act needed approval from two-thirds of the House’s 435 members, or 290 yes votes. It got 321, becoming the first marijuana-centered bill to reach a Congressional floor for a vote — as well as the first to pass.

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