Marijuana Dispensaries Can't Use Banks — What Do They Do With Their Money?

Published: Wednesday, September 11, 2019 - 11:31am
Updated: Thursday, September 12, 2019 - 3:21pm
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Claire Caulfield/KJZZ
Medical marijuana buds in glass jars at a dispensary in Scottsdale.

A bill that would have created special banks in California to handle money from that state’s marijuana businesses appears to be stalled, but medical marijuana dispensaries in Arizona will have a new way to handle their money.

Attorney General Mark Brnovich has allowed the digital payment startup Alta to do business here, as part of a program to let financial technology companies test out their products while they get needed licenses and approvals.

Alta says it’ll help medical marijuana dispensaries and other cannabis companies get around their lack of access to traditional banks by offering them a way to make payments digitally. Dispensaries often have to work in all cash because marijuana is still illegal under federal law, and banks regulated by the feds cannot do business with "criminal enterprises."

Morgan Fox is media relations director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. He joined The Show to discuss banking concerns and explain what dispensaries are doing with their money.

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