Banking issues have been a major stumbling block for the cannabis industry, with banks refusing to work with marijuana-related companies for fear of coming under scrutiny of federal regulators. So far, attempts to clear up that conflict have gone nowhere in Congress — but now a former federal government employee has come up with a partial solution: Tokken, an app for both customers and dispensaries that was recently named a finalist for the 2017 SXSW Interactive Innovation Award.
A former banker for Merrill Lynch, Lamine Zarrad came to Colorado in 2014 as a regulator with the U.S. Treasury. He soon became the department’s liaison between the cannabis industry and Washington, D.C., helping to address fiscal concerns of both the federal government and Colorado businesses. That led to his working with compliance experts in the financial sector to try to untangle the banking issue.