The Oregon cannabis industry is growing at a rapid pace. Oregon has had a medical cannabis program since 1998, but up until recently, medical cannabis dispensaries were operating in a gray area. That changed with the passage of Oregon House Bill 3460, which legalized medical cannabis dispensaries. Dispensaries that have received a license can now carry out their business without fear of state prosecution.
The industry will continue to grow if a recreational legalization/regulation initiative passes this November. New Approach Oregon's initiative would regulate cannabis like alcohol in the State of Oregon. The current growth, and potential future growth, of Oregon's cannabis industry has caught the attention of Gresham, Oregon based MBank, which is in discussions with state and federal banking regulators to see what they would have to do to work with Oregon's cannabis industry. Per Portland Business Journal:
Gresham-based Mbank may be the first Oregon bank to dive into the legal marijuana economy.
The bank is in discussions with federal and state regulators about providing banking services to medical marijuana businesses in Oregon, said President and CEO Jef Baker.
I really hope that this happens for the sake of Oregon's cannabis industry, as well as for public safety. While studies have shown that cannabis retail outlets are actually safer than banks, it is still unnecessarily more dangerous to be forced to run an all-cash business. Of course, if Measure 91 passes this November, there will be even more cannabis businesses in need of banking options in the state. If the cannabis industry could simply put that cash in a secured bank, it would help the business, the bank, and the citizens of Oregon.