Despite Federal Law, Colorado Pot Shops Are Accepting Credit Cards

COLORADO:  While the cannabis industry has been touted as a “cash-only” enterprise since medical marijuana was first legalized in California nearly 20 years ago, recent reports indicate that the recreational sector has become fed up with handling massive stacks of cash and have since established a clever method for accepting credit cards payments.

Colorado pot shops have struggled for the larger part of the past year to adhere to federal statutes in an attempt to avoid provoking the DEA from sending in a team to shut them down. Part of this challenge has been conducting legal pot sales, which generate about $14 million per month, without the use of financial institutions.

Even though former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder devised a set of rules in 2014 that would supposedly allow banks to work with marijuana businesses without the risk of prosecution, there have not been many willing to take a chance on these threatening endeavors because no changes to federal policy have been set in stone. Marijuana remains listed a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, which has prevented retail pot shops and banks from getting into bed together. It seems that no one is interested in being sent to prison for money laundering.

 

Shunned By Banks, Colorado Pot Retailers Beef Up Security To Protect Cash

COLORADO:  In Colorado, sales of recreational pot have been legal for nearly two months, but federal law still brings a major obstacle: Banks won’t take the money. Marijuana retailers are going to great lengths to keep their cash safe.

As marijuana green makes a lot of that other green, it can be both good news and bad news for business owners.

At the pot store called The Health Center, director of operations Tiffany Goldman is nervous. “Security is probably the most important thing that we have to think about in this industry,” Goldman said.

So armed guards transport plants, check IDs and, most importantly, keep an eye on the money.

Buying Marijuana With A Credit Card Just Got Easier

The recently released guidelines from the Department of Justice and Treasury are being heralded as finally giving the go-ahead to banks to allow the legalized marijuana industry to bank like any other enterprise.

Basically, the government declared that chasing those involved with the newly legal pot business is definitely not at the top of its priority list.

Banks aren’t the only financial entities standing in the way of the fledgling pot industry — credit card companies Visa, MasterCard, and American Express Company have been reluctant to allow their cards to be used for the purchase of legal weed — but, that may now change. [Read more…]

Recreational Pot: Processors Of Credit, Debit Cards Relax Rules

COLORADO: Recreational-marijuana businesses might not be as unbanked as they claim, with dozens of stores offering patrons payment alternatives to cash — each requiring a bank account.

Whether by credit card or ATM, customers say they were pleasantly surprised to learn that the cash in their pockets wasn’t necessary to buy recreational cannabis.

“It was at the counter, like most non-marijuana retail stores,” said Rachelle Yeung, who works at the Marijuana Policy Project but didn’t know that some stores would accept her plastic.

“I did not know ahead of time but was pleasantly surprised,” she said of using her Visa card at a Lakewood store. [Read more…]