Alaska marijuana business owners to gain access to financial services

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A nonprofit credit union in Alaska, Anchorage-based Credit Union 1, is set to begin offering financial services to cannabis companies in the state in March, which will allow those businesses an avenue to reduce their reliance on cash.

It is the first time marijuana companies in the state have had access to this kind of banking option, according to the Alaska Journal of Commerce.

“Credit unions typically take on bigger risks than banks to serve the underserved,” Joseph Martin, who manages the marijuana-related business program for Credit Union 1, told the Journal.

“I think marijuana kind of fits into that. It’s a big community safety issue to have all this cash running around on the streets.”

The credit union originally announced a pilot program in November and will focus mainly on improved software offered to businesses – allowing them to have greater transparency when placing deposits, for example.

“We don’t have a political or moral sense about this,” Martin said.

“You’re not going to see us sponsoring (bills) … but because it is legal in the state of Alaska, we’re going to service it like a business like any other.”