Oregon Catering to Cash-Carrying Cannabis Businesses

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The agency in charge of overseeing Oregon’s recreational marijuana industry is planning to add a dedicated window specifically for cannabis companies to pay their sales taxes as part of a broader move to bolster security.

About 30% of existing medical marijuana businesses in the state pay their tax bills with cash thanks to a lack of banking options, creating security and public safety issues, Steven Marks, the executive director of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, told The Oregonian.

Aside from adding a specific line for cannabis businesses at its offices, the commission also will spend more than $600,000 to upgrade its entry to handle the influx of marijuana companies bringing in large amounts of cash. Additionally, it’s considering opening a southern Oregon facility so companies in the area don’t have to drive to Portland with large sums of cash in their vehicles, the newspaper reported.

The availability of banking, or the lack thereof, has been an ongoing issue for many cannabis business owners.

MBank, considered one of the models on how to work with marijuana companies, said earlier this month it would shutter all of its cannabis accounts due to the cost of compliance.

Still, more than 1,700 “marijuana limited” suspicious activity reports have been filed with the IRS by financial institutions since last year, meaning banks are in fact doing business with cannabis companies.