Most banks won’t touch America’s legal pot industry

Lawmakers and businesses are demanding clarity for an industry that could generate as much as $11bn in revenue in 2018
The Economist (UK)
Friday, April 20, 2018

us banking cannabisProviding banking services to pot-sellers is a risky endeavour. Despite being legal in one form or another in 29 states, marijuana is banned under the federal Controlled Substances Act, and classified as a so-called Schedule 1 drug alongside cocaine and heroin. This is why the vast majority of American banks refuse to do business with the industry, lest they run foul of federal statutes on money-laundering, drug-trafficking and racketeering. As of September 2017, just 400 of America’s 5,700 banks catered to the sector. Without access to financial services, most marijuana-related businesses operate on a cash-only basis, stashing piles of money in duffel bags and hiring armed guards to protect employees from robberies.