Break Records, Not Bongs
Colorado’s Department of Revenue announced over the weekend that marijuana sales surpassed the $100 million mark this past August. Recreational shops reported $59.2 million for the month, while medical dispensaries brought in $41.4 million, bringing the combined total to $100.6 million. This sets the record for sales since cannabis became legal back in 2014.
Sales have increased steadily over the past eight months except one minor hiccup when the total fell from April to May from $74.64 to $74.31 million.
“It means that $100 million is going to licensed, taxpaying businesses, creating jobs and helping to build new schools, instead of going to cartels and drug dealers,” according to Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, who spoke with Yahoo News.
Washington and Oregon have seen the growing benefits of legalization as well. Washington had steady gains until July came around and fell 6 percent short of the prior month. This could possibly be accredited to the initial excitement of legalization finally simmering down as it becomes a normalcy. At this rate, some say Washington will step over the $300 million line by the end of the year. Oregon legalized marijuana earlier in the month and doubled Colorado’s numbers during the initial week. Combined, the legal cannabis sales across the country will surpass $1 billion this year.
Banking With Bud
Marijuana business owners are having issues finding a bank to handle and keep their funds safe. The lack of options leaves members of the industry with the added expense of hiring people to guard their money for them.
“The federal government and these banking laws are making it so that people have to walk around with tens of thousands of dollars in their businesses, in their cars, in their homes,” Michael Julian, CEO of MPS International, a marijuana security company, explained to Bloomberg. “[It’s] putting these people in danger,” he added.
Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley introduced a bill in July that gives legal cannabis businesses access to banking services. Something similar was brought to the house, and both are being reviewed by subcommittees. The legislation is also backed by colleagues of the senators in Colorado.
Private organizations like CannaNative want to connect cannabis businesses with American Indian banking systems, “to use the expertise gained from decades of managing casinos,” according to Bloomberg.
Legalization and Legislation
Some are calling for Congress to fix the laws instead of leaving business owners in fear.
“I think rather than finding a way to work around broken and outdated federal marijuana laws, Congress needs to simply fix the law,” Riffle said.