A recently introduced bill may have just made it a lot safer to sell marijuana. The Marijuana Business Access to Banking Act of 2015
would make it legal for marijuana businesses to operate with bank accounts. Businesses that sell marijuana currently have to deal in cash because of the fact that it is still illegal by federal law.
The bill was co-sponsored by bipartisan Senators from Oregon, Colorado and Washington including: Cory Gardner (R-Colorado), Michael Bennet (D- Colorado), Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) and Patty Murray (D-Washington).
Marijuana dispensaries are targets because they can’t use bank accounts
Marijuana dispensaries are sometimes the target of criminals because they know that they can’t use bank accounts and have to deal with duffel bags of cash. Businesses that deal with several clients per day often have to have extreme security measures and are often concerned about robberies.
By allowing these businesses to open actual bank accounts, it will make the business much safer in areas where it has been legalized. Marijuana businesses often have to use extreme security measures like armored cars and high tech security equipment, but with the use of banks some of these measures may no longer be necessary.
Marijuana dispensaries also have to do their payrolls in cash
Another problem that marijuana dispensaries have to face as the result of not being able to use bank accounts is their payrolls. Cash has to be dealt out to employees during every pay period, which can become arduous and burdensome, especially for companies with several employees.
Bank accounts would allow for the use of direct deposit rather than having to count out the amount of cash that is owed to every employee. Also, taxes would be easier to manage since the companies could write checks directly to the IRS.
The bill would improve the banking sector in the areas where marijuana dispensaries operate
A main benefit of the bill would be an improved banking sector where marijuana businesses operate. In Colorado alone, there was $700 million in marijuana sales last year and in Washington State there was over $63 million in retail sales.
The new law would allow businesses in these states and other areas where marijuana has been decriminalized to inject that revenue into local bank accounts. Banks would also be able to provide loans to marijuana dispensaries.
Although there are some banks that have decided to allow marijuana businesses to open accounts with them in spite of the lack of legality, this new law would give a green light for all banks to do businesses with marijuana companies without any concern.