* This is definitely an issue…
Supporters of legalized marijuana in Illinois have launched efforts aimed at making it easier for legitimate businesses that sell the product to have bank accounts and accept credit card transactions.
State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, a Democrat, said Monday he supports legislation in the General Assembly that would prohibit state banking regulators for punishing banks or credit unions that provide basic banking services to legitimate cannabis-related businesses. […]
“Prior to last year, about 85 percent of our cannabis industry was banked with a single bank in the state of Illinois,” Rep. Kelly Cassidy, a Chicago Democrat, said during the news conference. “As the Trump administration ramped up threats towards the legal cannabis industry, that bank got nervous about potential backlash and informed all of these businesses that they would cease to have a banking relationship with them”
Frerichs said the result of that has been to move the finances of the legal cannabis industry into a kind of underground cash-based economy.
Separately, Frerichs also seeks to create a program to deposit state funds into banks that could be used for loans for marijuana businesses. It would be similar to a program that has provided more than $1 billion in reduced-interest loans to Illinois farmers since 1983.
“This is not a question of if, but when,” he said. “We have medical cannabis in Illinois. I think that recreational is most likely coming.”
* But Americans being Americans, I think the problem will be solved. One Illinois has a story about one alternative…
CannaCard basically creates what Gavin called a “closed loop” in the financial world. The money goes in, and it comes out. He said it’s based on Starbucks’s successful loyalty program, which uses both hard cards that can have their value replenished or a smartphone app that can be restocked online.
“We looked at that and we tried to figure out what would be the easiest for the consumer to relate to, and they’re already using that,” he said. “We kind of took that and ran with it. So I guess you can say we kind of replaced coffee with cannabis.”
Sounds easy, but it’s not. Their system places the same initial demands on customers and dispensaries that banks do, in order to ensure financial transparency. “We are doing basically what the bank has to do to open an account,” Gavin said. “We don’t want any problems, you know, we don’t it to be used as another alternative for money laundering. That’s exactly what we’re trying to get around. We want to be able to offer these businesses full transparency, no different than any other business that’s out there.”
* If recreational cannabis becomes legal in Illinois, how the industry could grow: Colorado had issued 38,000 licenses for industry employees as of March 2018, according to the report, with roughly half of license-holders actively working in the field. The industry employs roughly 17,821 full-time-equivalent positions — an encouraging statistic to those who would like to see more cannabis jobs created here.
* Cannabis field ‘uncharted territory’ for lawyers if legalization occurs: But before lawyers can help would-be entrepreneurs interpret adult-use cannabis laws, the state legislature would need to consider and approve a new bill for legalization.
* How one accountant persuaded his firm to get into the cannabis business