Friday, Colorado’s governor signed into law a measure to create the nation’s 1st state-run Marijuana financial cooperative, potentially giving newly legalized Cannabis vendors access to banking services through the US Federal Reserve system.
The bill signed by Governor John Hickenlooper permits the creation of so-called “Cannabis Co-ops” similar to credit unions without deposit insurance, which will be governed by the state’s financial services commissioner.
Voters in Colorado and Washington state passed ballot measures in Y 2012 legalizing recreational Marijuana use by adults.
The 1st recreational Marijuana (RM) stores opened in Colorado in January, and Washington is set to follow later this year. Both states are among the 22, and the District of Columbia which allow Marijuana use for medical purposes.
Traditional banks have been unwilling to provide services to Medical and recreational Marijuana businesses because Cannabis remains illegal under federal law.
Supporters of the Colorado legislation say the cash-only nature of the industry limits owners’ access to capital, makes it difficult for the state to track revenue for tax-collecting purposes, and makes the stores targets for criminals.
To get access to Key banking services such as credit card transactions and checking accounts, the Federal Reserve needs to grant permission.
The ultimate solution to banking lies with the United States Congress. This is no longer an issue about Marijuana, but about safety, transparency, and accountability within the nascent industry
Denver police underscored the safety issue this week when they sent out an alert saying investigators had received credible intelligence about a plot to rob Marijuana business couriers in and around the city.
The Alert: All Marijuana businesses should be alert and aware of their surroundings as they conduct their business.