Any owner of a marijuana business will tell you that a lack of banking options for the industry is a huge problem. For a very long time banks had a standing policy of not doing business with marijuana companies. Then the federal government came out with ‘guidance’ that was supposed to make banking for marijuana businesses easier. The guidelines just created more confusion than anything, and most marijuana businesses are without a bank to work with. The ones remaining can get their accounts shutdown any time.
So my eyebrows raised a bit when I read an article about how a bank in Illinois will collect and process all of the medical marijuana sales taxes for the entire state. Per Herald and Review:
A Springfield bank will process Illinois sales taxes from cash medical marijuana purchases after submitting the only bid for the contract.
Illinois National Bank executives said Thursday they decided to submit a bid after assurances from state and federal banking regulators regarding handling cash from Illinois’ pilot medical marijuana program. They said it amounts to an extension of services it already provides the state.
The bank will process receipts for the sales tax of 7 cents per ounce from cash purchases, the (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports. The contract allows the bank to charge transaction and service fees, and the sales tax receipts would be transferred to the state.
That seems to be a double standard. It’s a conversation that I had with some friends once upon a time in regards to any state with marijuana tax revenue being generated. Marijuana businesses are not allowed to make bank deposits. However, if some of that money is given to the government via taxes, the government can make marijuana money deposits, even though at the end of the day the original source of the money is the same either way.
Obviously, that’s not fair. The same goes for every state that generates tax revenue. If the government is able to make deposits of marijuana industry money, so too should the marijuana industry itself be able to make deposits. The marijuana industry is massive, and getting bigger everyday. There’s no reason that the industry should be expected to operate on cash alone. It’s a public safety issue that needs to be addressed immediately.