DENVER (CBS4) –Â Federal laws are putting a damper on Colorado’s budding marijuana business, as one Denver company connected to the retail pot industry learned whenÂ it was suddenly cut off from its bank.
Extracting Innovations CEO Brandon Shepherd invented a machine that infuses marijuana into butter for baking. After explaining his device, Shepherd said, âWe actually do help people that really do need it.âREAD MORE: 'Girls Can Do Anything': Colorado Girls Introduced To Possibilities Of Careers In Construction
But when he went to deposit a check at his bank, KeyBank, last week, the teller told Shepherd that his account had been closed.
âThatâs when we had the conversation: oh I cannot deposit this check, I canât even give you your money,â Shepherd said of the teller.
According to the letter he received, Shepherdâs business account was closed under the âdeposit account agreement,â and âfunds availability policy.â
KeyBankâs executive office refused to comment on what that meant, stating they simply had the right to do so. A KeyBank spokesperson said the company couldn’t comment due to laws on customer privacy.READ MORE: Ptarmigan Fire: Hundreds Remain Evacuated, New Evacuations Ordered After Wildfire Started Near Homes In Summit County
âWhile the Department of Justice and the Treasury in February of last year provided some guidance in easing this situation for banks, serving the marijuana industry remains illegal at the federal level,â said Amanda Averch of the Colorado Bankers Association.
Averch also said a bank that does business with a cannabis-related company faces stiff penalty, âUp to bankers losing their careers, and the bank being shut down.â Any change, she said, will have to come from Congress.
Gov. John Hickenlooper addressed this issue last week during his State of the State speech, saying, âWe will continue to push the federal government to allow banking for this industry.â
Shepherdâs business is on hold for now, and his revenue on standstill.
âI have bills to pay, but I have no means of paying them because I canât deposit the checks that I have,â he said.MORE NEWS: Former Idaho Springs Police Officer, Nicholas Hanning, Faces Civil Lawsuit For Separate Controversial Arrest
Shepherd is now looking for a new bank for his business, and says KeyBank is mailing him a check to return the money he had in that account before it closed.