Cannabis Shops Face a Critical Stumbling Block

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As marijuana shops sprout in states that have legalized the drug, they face a critical stumbling block — lack of access to the kind of routine banking services other businesses take for granted.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, is leading an effort to make sure vendors working with legal marijuana businesses, from chemists who test marijuana for harmful substances to firms that provide security, don’t have their banking services taken away.

It’s part of a wider effort by Warren and others to bring the burgeoning $7 billion marijuana industry in from a fiscal limbo she said forces many shops to rely solely on cash, making them tempting targets for criminals.

After voters in Warren’s home state approved a November ballot question to legalize the recreational use of pot, she joined nine other senators in sending a letter to a key federal regulator, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, calling on it to issue additional guidance to help banks provide services to marijuana shop vendors.

Twenty-eight states have legalized marijuana for medicinal or recreational use.

Warren, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, said there are benefits to letting marijuana-based businesses move away from a cash-only model.

By Steve LeBlanc – Continue reading here.

Legal weed is hard to come by in Alaska

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There’s no legal marijuana for sale in Fairbanks.

All three stores – Pakalolo Supply Co., Frozen Budz, and GoodSinse – have shut their doors as they wait for more cannabis to hit the wholesale market.

“We left Fairbanks dry,” said Destiny Neade, Frozen Budz co-owner.

Across Alaska, a shortage of commercial cannabis has caused stores to close temporarily or open only in short spurts as product becomes available and is quickly bought up.

In Fairbanks, Frozen Budz has been closed for about a month, and will likely stay shut until the end of January, Neade said.

GoodSinse opened on Dec. 11 and closed Dec. 30 after the store ran out of product, co-owner Daniel Peters said Tuesday. And Pakalolo is waiting until its own harvest is ready, likely mid-January, co-owner Keenan Hollister said.

The issue is simple supply and demand, Hollister said — like the state of Washington, which also faced shortages during the start of its recreational industry.

There hasn’t been enough cannabis harvest to cover the state’s retailers, Hollister said. Eleven are operating across Alaska.

By Laurel Andrews Continue Reading…