Marijuana is both recreationally and medically legal in eight states in the United States. It’s medically legal in more than a dozen other states. The state treasury in California, one of the states where it is both medically and recreationally legal, estimates that sales in 2018 will reach $7 billion making marijuana banking solutions imperative. There is just one problem. All taxes paid by cannabis companies have to be paid in cash.
That’s because thanks to federal laws, marijuana companies can’t store their money in bank accounts, making the industry an all-cash one in every aspect.
Despite nearly two-thirds of the states in this country having legalized pot sales for certain uses, the federal government still classifies marijuana as a “Schedule 1” drug, on a par with heroin. This makes it a nightmare for cannabis businesses to do even the simplest of financial transactions, including paying taxes and its employees.
Unfortunately, the fact that marijuana facilities can’t use banks, despite them being perfectly legal continues to add to the negative connotation associated with cannabis. There is no reason why they shouldn’t have full access to banking the same way any other legal business does. Luckily, some in the California government, including Treasurer John Chiang and Attorney General Xavier Becerra, have begun efforts to create its own publicly owned bank to serve the state’s now-legal cannabis industry.
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