Banking has always been an issue for the cannabis industry, well before Colorado and Washington legalized recreational cannabis in 2012. Earlier this year there appeared to be a banking solution on the horizon in Colorado. Efforts seemed promising that Colorado would be creating a first of it's kind banking system specially for the cannabis industry.
However, those efforts still haven't got off the ground in Colorado. There have been a lot of conversations, meetings, and ideas thrown around, but a banking solution for the cannabis industry in Colorado has remained elusive. Per The Cannabist:
"We continue to see some movement, but any specifics and those (who are) involved is confidential," said Andrew Freedman, Colorado's director of marijuana coordination and one of the forces behind House Bill 1398, the pot finance co-op measure.
What is happening, according to interviews with several people familiar with the process, is that a consortium of businesspeople connected to the marijuana trade has committed to giving this credit-union-type idea a try, but only if the U.S. Federal Reserve of Kansas City gives them a fair hearing.
For now, the Federal Reserve hasn't said one way or the other --- probably because there hasn't been a formal application for access to the nation's financial system.
The need for solid banking regulations is never going to go away until a system is in place. That's something that lawmakers and regulators need to realize. The federal government should be leading on this issue. Having an all cash industry is never a good thing, especially an industry as large (and growing as fast) as the cannabis industry. The next great American industry should be given a fair chance, just like any other legal industry that is creating jobs, generating tax revenue, and boosting local economies.