Spokane Washington Pot Businesses Could Bank On Credit Union

WASHINGTON: Numerica Credit Union is the first financial institution in the state willing to accept clients whose business is recreational marijuana, the Washington Liquor Control Board was told Wednesday.

But only for Spokane area businesses, Becky Smith, the board’s marijuana licensing manager, said: “They want to keep it local.”

That could give Spokane marijuana growers, processors and retailers a leg up on other licensed pot businesses around the state. Most haven’t been able to find a bank or credit union that will accept their business, and some have been dropped when bank officials find out what it entails.

 

Colorado Lawmakers Shy Away From Pot Bank

COLORADO:  A Colorado plan to set up the world’s first financial system for marijuana survived less than 24 hours before state lawmakers changed course Thursday night and shelved the idea.

The proposal would have allowed state-licensed marijuana businesses to create a financial co-op, sort of an uninsured credit union.

The measure was introduced late Wednesday and cleared a House committee on Thursday. But a few hours later, another House committee gutted the plan by amending the bill to say that Colorado will continue studying the problem of marijuana businesses having a hard time accessing banking services.

Lawmakers from both parties expressed reservations about whether the financial-services plan would work.

“Let’s take some time to have this properly vetted,” said Rep. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson, who sponsored the amendment to study the matter.

 

Debate: Is The Legalization Of Marijuana Inevitable?

First, 20 states and the District of Columbia passed laws legalizing marijuana for medical use. Then in 2012, voters in Washington state and Colorado approved measures legalizing the sale and possession of marijuana for non-medical use, with state oversight. Now at least a half-dozen states from Alaska to Maine are considering following suit.

Marijuana still remains a federally controlled substance, but Attorney General Eric Holder in January said the U.S. Justice Department would soon issue regulations to let state-sanctioned marijuana businesses have access to banking and credit.

Can full legalization be far behind? Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, try to wrap their heads around the question.