Back to square one.
That’s the situation for owners of medical cannabis centers after Colorado legislators shot down a bill to create banks focused solely on working with the marijuana industry, as MMJ Business Daily wrote about last week.
Many marijuana insiders felt that this proposal was the first legitimate shot at helping address – and could even alleviate – one of the biggest issues for cannabis dispensaries and marijuana growers. Banks often refuse to open accounts for these types of businesses, making it difficult for them to handle most financial transactions. Some owners have large amounts of cash on hand, which increases risks – and the possibility of crime – dramatically. More than anything, though, it makes doing business much harder and more complicated, as if the MMJ industry wasn’t already tough enough.
The bill’s defeat was symbolic in many ways, none of them encouraging for the industry. The hearing to discuss the proposal quickly devolved into negativity as lawmakers poked some serious holes in the idea of having the state back a banking system that flies in the face of the federal government. Even the bill’s sponsors admitted near the end of the discussion that the very idea of creating a bank for dispensaries presents a host of problems.
This wasn’t about political posturing or the typical rancor involved when complex, controversial topics are debated. Rather, it seems that lawmakers are honestly concerned about the proposal, and their points are valid.
The biggest fallout from the bill’s defeat is that it effectively kills chances of a resolution to this issue in the near future. It’s not like there are any other ideas currently on the table, and banks aren’t moving any closer to relaxing their position on the medical marijuana industry. In other words, this is a problem that isn’t going away anytime soon, and it will continue to hamper the industry’s growth and potential.
And don’t think this is just about Colorado. Dispensaries in all MMJ states struggle with the same issues, and the Colorado bill – if successful – could have served as a model elsewhere.
Other top stories in Medical Marijuana Business Daily last week:
Delaware Backtracks on Medical Marijuana, Puts Breaks on Program
Guest Column: Optimism in DC Despite Delays
New MMJ Book: How to Start a Dispensary Customer Loyalty Program