The biggest obstacle faced by marijuana dispensaries throughout America is the lack of banking of options. Because banks have refused to work with dispensaries (among other legal cannabis businesses), this industry has long been a cash business without a safe-haven.
Federal legislation aimed at loosening these banking restrictions has yet to make traction, but Oregon lawmakers may be the first to take this serious matter into their own hands. Last week, the state’s house voted 55-4 (following an 18-6 Senate vote) in favor of House Bill 4094 allowing Oregon banks to provide financial services to state-regulated marijuana businesses by removing the risk of prosecution.
The bill “exempts financial institutions that provide financial services to marijuana related businesses, researchers and laboratories from any criminal law of this state that has element that may be proven by substantiating that person provides financial services to person who lawfully possesses, delivers or manufactures marijuana or marijuana derived products.”
Now, the legislation moves into the hands of Governor Kate Brown who has stated that she would sign any bill that will eliminate formerly standing, unjust penalties for these banks and credit unions. Hopefully this bill inspires other states like Colorado and Washington to take similar action to finally allow their growing industry to stash their cash safely, just like any other legally operating business.
Meanwhile, in Washington D.C., Oregon Representative and weed warrior Earl Blumenauer continues the plight to get the federal government to loosen up its tedious restrictions on this issue.