The banking industry has not been kind to the marijuana industry. There are more and more banks that are willing to open accounts for marijuana businesses, but most of them still shy away from working with marijuana businesses. The United States Department of Justice released guidelines that were supposed to help banks navigate the grey areas surrounding marijuana banking, but those guidelines left a lot of questions unanswered, and even created some new ones. There is a plan to ope the first ever state chartered marijuana credit union in Colorado at the beginning of next year, which will be very interesting if it happens to say the least. Per the Denver Post:
The world's first financial institution established specifically for the marijuana industry could be open in Colorado by Jan. 1.
The Colorado Division of Financial Services late Wednesday issued The Fourth Corner Credit Union an unconditional charter to operate, the first state credit-union charter issued in nearly a decade.
The next hurdles will be obtaining insurance from the National Credit Union Administration, the federal regulator of credit unions, and getting a master account from the Federal Reserve System.
Gov. John Hickenlooper's office called the charter "the end of the line" for the state's efforts to solve the marijuana industry's nagging problem: obtaining banking services.
One of my first jobs was working at a credit union. I have been asked by many readers why we haven't seen a credit union created yet for the marijuana industry, and I always point out the need to get insurance from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), and to get a master account with the Federal Reserve System. Those could prove to be sticking points on the plan to open the Colorado marijuana industry credit union. Only time will tell, but it's a story worth monitoring.