OREGON: Two months from now, on July 1, Oregon will become the fourth state to allow residents to legally purchase marijuana for recreational use. In anticipation of legalization, the governing body that will oversee marijuana licensing and sales is preparing for something unexpected: A huge influx of cold, hard cash.
Legal marijuana in states like Colorado and Washington have surpassed revenue expectations in their first few years. But when marijuana businesses try to pay their taxes, the federal law that makes marijuana illegal limits their access to financial institutions.
Despite assurances from the Treasury Department that they would not be prosecuted, banks have been reluctant to open accounts for weed-related businesses. Some banks that accept money generated by marijuana sales fear that they may leave themselves open to federal money-laundering charges.