US Postal Service says no to marijuana tax payment in Alaska

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The U.S. Postal Service in Juneau, Alaska, refused to deliver a box of cash to Anchorage for a local recreational marijuana business that was mailing its regular tax payment to the state, saying the delivery would violate federal law.

The incident underscores the legal and operational obstacles marijuana firms face when forced to use cash to pay bills and salaries as well as purchase goods. Many banks and credit unions won’t do business with MJ businesses.

Rainforest Farms, a retailer and cultivator in Juneau, was mailing its state tax payment to Anchorage because it’s the only city in the state equipped to take cash deposits, the Juneau Empire reported.

“Any proceeds from the selling of (marijuana) is considered drug proceeds under federal law, so you can’t mail that,” Anchorage postal inspector Aaron Behnen told the Juneau Empire.

If cannabis businesses can’t mail cash, companies must have those payments driven to Anchorage and hand-delivered, the paper said. Rainforest Farms was able to mail a tax payment last month.

Ken Alper, Alaska Department of Revenue Tax Division Director, told the Juneau Empire the state must find a solution for “these legitimate business people to pay their taxes,” adding that the incident “throws a tremendous wrinkle into our processes.”

None of Alaska’s four state-chartered banks or its one state-chartered credit union has been willing to do business with marijuana businesses, according to the newspaper.