By now most of you following this blog are well informed that in the US we have 22 states with a medical cannabis program two of which have adopted recreational cannabis as well. What most of you may not realize is that 11 of the 22 (50%) of all cannabis legalization has occurred since 2008. In six years we have seen a dramatic improvement in momentum in the overturning of cannabis prohibition and the future looks bright. Some of the biggest issues cannabis has faced in its newly found liberation is a lack of cooperation from important channels in the industry. One of those has been the banking industry. Due to the Federal Government keeping cannabis on a schedule 1 controlled substance designation rendering it illegal banks have not been cooperative in most cases in allowing bank accounts, merchant service accounts, and financing for small business. The reason being is these banks are all backed by the Federal Reserve and due to the Federal illegalities it makes it very sticky for banks to be involved in the cannabis industry. Without bank involvement all of the cannabis businesses are cash-based making tax paying sketchy, preventing internal employee theft challenging, and it certainly poses a major security threat. Think about it, a cannabis dispensary is basically a cannabis retail store, so you have drugs and cash in a central location. Talk about a risky proposition. Today Colorado passed legislation for the first Co-Op credit union which is a missing piece in the industry. It will open the door for cannabis companies to get bank accounts and allow them to operate like traditional businesses as far as banking is concerned. While these credit co-ops are not standard business banking, they do open the door for legislative improvement. These baby-like steps in legislation are happening almost daily across the nation indicating a definite momentum occurring on the state level but it is critical that people push the initiative and not wait for our public servants (politicians) to do all the work. Joining the CHA is one way that you can contribute to the unity of the cannabis culture as we work to overturn Federal prohibition of cannabis. While we are seeing improvements, we are a HUGE country in terms of size and population with alot of risk and conflicting interests in this country. Uruguay is a country that has already legalized and regulated cannabis fully, however they have a paltry 3,000,000 citizens in comparison to the United States population of 320,000,000+ legal citizens. Unless we can band together and created a unity we will continue to see baby steps in our initiatives. The cannabis movement is unlike the gay marriage initiative in that it is not as personal for much of the community. While the gay community was fighting for their own individual rights over a much more personal issue, the love of someone you truly want to spend the rest of your life with. The cannabis community must realize that it may be the rights of others that we are fighting for. The child suffering from epilepsy that we don't know personally or the Vietnam veteran who has post traumatic stress disorder and is suicidal. The cannabis community has a much more intangible reason to rally and organize but it needs to happen even moreso for others than for ourselves.
Colorado Senate OKs co-op banking option for marijuana sellers