Pot entrepreneurs have had a tough time opening bank accounts following the legalization of the drug in some States. Now 100 of them (1% of US banks) have opened their doors to these enterprising potheads.
Without regular banking access, pot merchants have had to work largely in cash. When I reported on Colorado’s newly legal recreational pot business earlier this year, some marijuana merchants said they had found a workaround, dealing with banks that allowed them to open accounts. But that was relatively rare. More commonly, pot sellers said they had a few bank accounts under the radar, which they didn’t use for large transactions in an attempt to prevent triggering anti-money laundering alerts. These merchants handled the bulk of their business in cash, forcing them to added cumbersome procedures to safeguard the money and staff. On tax day in February, Colorado stationed armed guards at the government office where dispensary owners had to hand over taxes from their first month of recreational sales.