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Medical marijuana dispensaries search for banking options

Reported by: John Treanor
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Updated: 7/04/2014 7:58 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) — Money, money everywhere, but no place to put it.

While medical marijuana is legal in states such as Nevada and Colorado, it isn’t legal in the eyes of the federal government. So for banks that are regulated by the feds, it means money from the sale of marijuana is off limits.

Now one medical marijuana dispensary in Denver, Allgreen LLC., is taking action. It’s suing the IRS.

Here’s the problem. Medical marijuana dispensaries make money, a lot of money, but no federally insured bank will deal with them because the feds say the sale of marijuana is still illegal.

Not being able to deal with an insured bank means no access to electronic banking, which means when you deal with the IRS you have to deal in cash. But here’s the problem  cash payments get taxed more. It’s a penalty and these penalties add up. Attempting to get resolution, Colorado dispensaries started suing the IRS.

Attorneys for pending dispensaries in Nevada are taking note of the Colorado cases.

One of those lawyers, Amanda Connor of Las Vegas, is paying attention. She represents a number of hopeful dispensary owners. One of their first questions: What do we do with our money?

Federally insured banks are afraid that handling proceeds from medical marijuana businesses could be seen as money laundering.

Some dispensaries are using credit unions, which are not federally insured. But that option may present problems of its own.

So potential Nevada dispensaries are playing a waiting game; watching for the outcome of legal action in Colorado.


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