Limits to marijuana banking services is trending in the national media this week with article featuring Medical Marijuana, Inc. executive.
Dr. Stuart Titus, President and CEO of Medical Marijuana, Inc. was featured as part of an article published recently by Reuters and 18 national and regional media sources, such as
- Business Insider
- U.S. News & World Report
- Yahoo Finance
- Daily Mail
- The Fiscal Times
- One America News Network
- And more.
The piece, titled “Marijuana firms in cloudy haze over banking woes”, explores the difficult position legal cannabis companies, their owners, and even their employees find themselves.
Because of the illicit status of marijuana under federal drug laws, which classify marijuana as a Schedule I drug, the most severe level of classification, banks in the U.S. often won’t handle accounts from anyone connected to the cannabis industry, making it nearly impossible to get banking services.
This has led to marijuana existing as a mostly cash-based industry. Cannabis sales are in cash, as is the payroll for many marijuana businesses. Even taxes must be paid in cash when a bank account cannot be secured. This is the case for the over 60 percent of cannabis businesses that have no bank account, according to the article.
“Most marijuana companies have a courier service, or a Brinks truck, or a big wheelbarrow full of cash that they send to the Internal Revenue Service to pay their taxes,” says Dr. Titus in the article. “It is basically a kind of underground, cash-based economy.”
The federal government could change policy to allow banks to work with marijuana companies, but so far such efforts have failed. In July of 2016, an amendment to the spending bill would have prevented banks from being penalized for working with marijuana businesses, but the amendment was blocked from a vote by the House Committee on Rules.
Until such time that federal banking rules are changed to allow cannabis businesses to secure bank accounts, these companies will need to find workarounds to allow them to gain the banking services they need, according to the piece.