Top Credit Union Times editor: Embrace cannabis businesses

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A top editor at the Credit Union Times says more credit unions should begin taking on marijuana businesses as customers.

“With a major state like California coming close to legalizing recreational pot – something that may tip the scales on legalization efforts in other states and pressure the federal government to give existing pot businesses easier access to financial services – it’s time for more credit unions to embrace the idea of serving the marijuana industry,” Natasha Chilingerian wrote in a piece published Sept. 16 on her trade publication’s website.

Chilingerian added that accepting marijuana businesses as customers is consistent with the “philosophy” of credit unions, including improving community safety by taking money off the street, and helping small businesses.

In an email, Chilingerian said the article represents her own views, versus Credit Union Times as a whole.

In the article, Chilingerian acknowledged it will be hard to persuade some credit union leaders that taking marijuana businesses is a good thing.

“It seemed each time we published an article on the topic, we received harsh comments from readers who wouldn’t even entertain the idea of working with business owners whom they felt were condoning an immoral, dangerous activity,” Chilingerian wrote.

As of March, 301 financial institutions were serving marijuana-touching businesses, according to federal figures obtained by the Associated Press.