Why marijuana retailers can’t use banks

Banks cannot handle dope money lest they fall foul of federal rules about money laundering
The Economist (UK)
Monday, January 22, 2018

Nearly two-thirds of America’s states have legalised pot sales for certain uses, but the federal government still classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, on a par with heroin. Banks that handle marijuana money can be charged with money laundering. California's state treasury estimates that sales in 2018 will reach $7bn. But it will not collect its fair share, because pot taxes, it turns out, must be paid in cash. This makes tax collection “a nightmare”. Pot businesses are stuck working with cash, which causes problems for more than just tax collection. For starters, cash operations are inefficient. To pay its staff of 200 in cash, CannaCraft, a Californian maker of marijuana products, requires four employees who would otherwise be unneeded.