Company Targets Marijuana Industry’s Cash

COLORADO: A Denver-area company that provides security for marijuana businesses moving around large amounts of cash said it’s growing in the city.

Blue Line Protection Group Inc. said it’s opening a new 12,000-square-foot facility in Denver that will be able to house its armored vehicles, count companies’ cash, and store cash in vaults. It’s scheduled to open in the first quarter of next year, the company said.

Right now in Colorado, the marijuana industry is basically operating as an all-cash industry, because national banks don’t want anything to do with pot, since it’s still technically illegal nationally. A Denver credit union, Fourth Corner Credit Union, tried to get legit and had filed suit to get clearance from the Federal Reserve to open, but in October, the Federal Reserve said it won’t issue the required master account because marijuana is an illegal activity.

Federal Reserve Blocks ‘Marijuana Bank’ in Colorado

COLORADO: Marijuana-related businesses in Colorado are so profitable that the government doesn’t know what to do with all of the tax revenue they’re generating. But business owners face a more immediate problem: Where to stash their own profits when banks won’t take it.

Because marijuana is a federally banned Schedule I substance, most banks have been reluctant to accept deposits from industry businesses. A  clumsy and ambiguous set of guidelines from the federal government, which at least seemed to indicate that banks working with dispensaries operating legally under state law would be shielded from money laundering prosecution, didn’t help.

Now the Federal Reserve is muddying the waters further with a court filing against the Fourth Corner Credit Union, which was established specifically to handle Colorado’s marijuana cash, according to NBC News:

The credit union can’t open without clearance from the Federal Reserve, which said in its filing that “transporting or transmitting funds known to have derived from the distribution of marijuana is illegal…”

The Federal Reserve said in the latest filing that bankers won’t be led away in handcuffs for taking marijuana money, but they don’t have the right to put that money in the Federal Reserve system.

By pushing for approval from the Fed, it was “as if Colorado enacted a scheme to allow trade in endangered species or trade with North Korea,” the filing says.

Colorado OKs Marijuana Credit Union

COLORADO:  Colorado’s marijuana businesses have a cash flow problem: Too much cash is flowing in and they’ve nowhere to put it.

Most banks refuse to work with marijuana businesses, which are legal in Colorado but remain illegal at the federal level. Now, a new credit union aimed specifically toward the cannabis industry hopes to offer a solution.

The Fourth Corner Credit Union hopes to open its doors within weeks in Denver, offering to accept cash deposits and to permit members to make electronic transfers for payroll and rent, and to buy supplies.

“We are on the one-yard line,” said Mark Mason, an attorney advising the credit union’s nine founders.