Colorado is taking action to try to give more legal marijuana businesses in the state access to banking as a Congressional effort to knock down the federal barriers has stalled.
There are already a handful of banks in Colorado working with marijuana businesses, including Partner Colorado Credit Union in Arvada, where Gov. Jared Polis on Monday unveiled a roadmap to increase the number of financial institutions offering their services to the cannabis industry by 20% in the coming months.
But many more banks won’t work with cannabis businesses because of the potential regulatory and criminal consequences, since pot is still illegal under federal law. That has left many marijuana companies without access to everything from checking accounts to loans.
“We have an obligation to do what we can with the tools that we have while we work on this federal fix,” Polis said.
Polis is ordering his administration to identify opportunities for state legislative and regulatory clarity for state-chartered financial institutions, state-licensed money transmitters and state-regulated insurance companies. The idea is to create a path for more bank-cannabis businesses relationships by ensuring financial institutions know Colorado has their backs if they decide to take the risk.
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