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Calif. Studies Options For A Legal Pot Industry Still Excluded From Most Banks

Melissa Bosworth / Capital Public Radio / File
 

Melissa Bosworth / Capital Public Radio / File

With California’s multi-billion dollar recreational cannabis industry coming online next year, state officials are thinking about piles of money.

A report out Tuesday looks at where growers and sellers should park their cash, since most banks won’t touch it.

Because having and selling pot is still a federal crime, unbanked businesses spend a lot of time handling stacks of cash and hoping they don’t get robbed.

“Cannabis workers know firsthand that federal banking prohibitions make cannabis workplaces targets for crime,” says Jim Araby with the United Food and Commercial Workers union, which represents workers in the industry.

“Cannabis workers are moms and dads, members of our communities who want to get home safely at the end of each day,” Araby said.  

One fix might be contracting an armored courier service to pick up cash payments for state taxes and licensing fees. State officials also want to study what it would take to open a bank or credit union where businesses could make deposits.

Ultimately though, the state treasurer’s report says federal rules need to catch up, and start treating pot like any other industry.

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