With an eye on the millions of dollars in revenue generated over the past week by recreational cannabis stores in Colorado – much of it in cash – the Denver City Council is urging the federal government to pave the way for marijuana banking services.
On Monday evening, the council passed a proclamation supporting the growing cannabusiness industry in its quest to operate the same way all other small businesses do with regards to deposits, payroll, payments and other financial services. The proclamation asks the government to provide guidance for banking and other financial institutions that would allow them to work with cannabis companies.
“We understand that we’re blazing a new trail here in Denver and Colorado, and we’re comfortable being the lead dog to show the rest of the country how to get this right,” Councilman Chris Nevitt said. “But getting it right requires banking, and banking requires the federal government to act. Don’t trip us up and then accuse us of being clumsy.”
The council joins many others publicizing the risks presented by all-cash businesses – ranging from theft to difficulties paying taxes – and the problems a lack of access to traditional financial services has created.
There are some signs that the Justice Department is gearing up to give a “yellow light” of sorts for banks to work with cannabis companies. Such guidance cannot come soon enough for both the growth of the industry and the safety of the individuals who work in it.