Fourth Corner Credit Union was established in order to provide a banking solution for legally operating marijuana businesses. This has been an ongoing problem for these businesses given that marijuana is still illegal federally. A district judge dismissed a lawsuit against the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank because of it.
Lawyers for the Federal Reserve claim that, “Access to the nation’s banking system would be too dangerous.”
The argument raised by the Federal Reserve claims as long as marijuana is illegal federally, monies from its sales should not be permitted into the nation’s banking system. This causes marijuana dispensaries to have to continue working with cash only.
Colorado marijuana business owners fear that having so much cash on-hand may lead to robberies. Colorado authorized Fourth Corner Credit Union to operate in 2014, 2 years after recreational marijuana became legal in the state. Credit union attorney, Mark Mason, says that “a cannabis bank would, in fact, keep a better eye on the drug money,” according to International Business Times.
Changes to federal laws and an end to prohibition will likely have to take place before marijuana businesses are permitted to use the banking system. This leaves them having to pay all of their bills, including taxes, in cash.
The executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, Aaron Smith, said that, “Forcing cannabis businesses to operate without banking access is a crisis, affecting public safety, law-abiding businesses, and the state officials in charge of regulating them.”