DENVER (CBS4) – This week more new laws dealing with the legalization of marijuana may be coming from the state Legislature. Among them is a plan to give pot businesses access to a banking system.
Banks are still reluctant to handle marijuana money because pot is still illegal under federal law.
The Ganja Gourmet in Denver sells marijuana edibles for medical marijuana patients. Owner Steve Horwitz told CBS4 he also plans to sell recreational pot. He says just like every marijuana seller in Colorado, he tried to put his pot proceeds in his bank by accepting debit cards, which meant creating a fictitious company he named after a shock jock.
“I opened up an account called H. Stern Management named for my God and king, Howard Stern,” Horwitz said.
His shell company gambit collapsed following an on-site inspection.
“They came to see us and greet us and welcome us to their bank, and when they did that I don’t think they left too happy,” Horwitz said.
Those marijuana banking games may end if the state Legislature this week allows marijuana businesses to form financial co-operatives. The co-ops would take effect only if the U.S. Federal Reserve agrees to allow them to access payment systems. If not, it’s back to carrying cash.
“These retail centers doing … $20,000 a day — some of them — and they’re doing it all in cash and everyone knows. So, yeah, that’s going to create a huge burglary problem,” Horwitz said.
The state Legislature this week will also study new regulations for pot edibles that might impact the potency.