State Has Back Up Plan if Banks Deny Pot Profits

By Steve Jackson

There is still uncertainty about how Washington marijuana entrepreneurs will deal with proceeds from marijuana sales. In February the Federal Reserve and Department of Justice issued some guidelines for banks to show how they could comply with reporting guidelines if they dealt with marijuana related businesses.

The state Liquor Control Board’s Chris Marr says those guidelines seem to have convinced a few local banks and credit unions that they will be able to deal with pot businesses without concern over the federal status of marijuana, which is considered illegal. But he says some larger banks are only willing to take state tax revenues dealing with pot, and not actual profits.

Marr says the state is prepared to deal with the cash flow, if banks refuse to deal with the situation.

Marr: "The budget does have 1.6 million dollars for the department of revenue to beef up their offices in order to accommodate significant cash payments. Counting rooms, counters, that type of thing, because it’s anticipated a number of folks who operate in that space will be adverse to using financial institutions, so we still will have a number of people who will choose a cash type system."

Marr says the state wants to ensure there are banks that will serve for marijuana related business, to provide loans and other services.

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