Banking for Bud Dispensaries

WeedTimes are good for pot in Oregon. Recreational marijuana consumers will be able to buy their weed from medical dispensaries starting Oct. 1. However, the issue of combining bud sales with banking is still a problem for dispensaries in Oregon.

Because federal laws that prohibit marijuana sales clash with state laws, most Oregon dispensaries are unable to find banks willing to handle their finances. Even pot sellers that earn millions each month still cannot accept credit cards because local banks are wary of the possibility of federal prosecution that might come with interacting with marijuana businesses.

Seeing the problems of all that cash and carry, Oregon senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkeley, along with supporting representative Earl Blumenauer, have designed a solution to the bud-and-banking issue. The Marijuana Business Access to Banking Act of 2015 would ensure bank service to all legal marijuana-related businesses in Oregon.

Wyden and Merkeley’s goal in pushing the bill through Congress is to ensure that marijuana businesses’ involvement with banks can be made simple, legal, and protected from federal prosecution. If passed, the bill could also set a precedent for other states that plan to eventually legalize marijuana, and, according to a public statement by Wyden, would provide an “update” to federal laws involving pot legalization.

“We’ll be able to stop this stupidness,” added Blumenauer. Despite the simple nature and intent of the bill, it will take plenty of time to push it through Congress— potentially several months, notwithstanding anticipated opposition.

By Kiki Genoa