Congress is weighing whether to give marijuana businesses access to banks. In Colorado, that’s already happening | PostIndependent.com

Congress is weighing whether to give marijuana businesses access to banks. In Colorado, that’s already happening

As many as 35 banks are already offering financial services to the legal cannabis industry in Colorado, the state’s Bankers Association says, but they’re doing so under hushed circumstances and strict federal oversight

Jesse Paul
The Colorado Sun
Automated fans and cultivation lights are pictured operating above cannabis plants at RiNo Supply's cultivation facility near Lafayette on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. Automation sensors monitor temperature, humidity and light intensity inside the greenhouse as a way of regulating the fans and light output and, according to the cannabis company, help reduce energy-consumption costs. (Photo by Andy Colwell/ Special to The Colorado Sun)
Andy Colwell, Special to The Colorado Sun

Colorado’s cannabis industry has had a chief request since marijuana was legalized: Give us access to banks. 

But it turns out that hundreds of the state’s pot businesses are already working with financial institutions under the close watch of federal regulators, even though marijuana remains illegal at the federal level. As many as 35 banks and credit unions offer services to the state’s $6.5 billion-plus industry, according to the Colorado Bankers Association.  

Most financial institutions are secretive about their business relationships with companies that grow and sell marijuana legally, limiting the number of customers they will take on and asking their clients to sign nondisclosure agreements, said Amanda Averch, a spokeswoman for the bankers association.

“They’re serving this business, effectively, anonymously,” she said.

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