As the legalization movement has made great strides, communities are discovering the income potential of the new marketplace. In Oregon, the first day of recreational marijuana sales alone brought in $3.2 million dollars. However, as many in the medicinal marijuana industry have come to find––with marijuana still federally illegal, cannabis remains a cash only business.
Federal regulations restrict financial transactions relating to controlled substances, which marijuana is considered at the national level. Thus, retailers are forced to accept only cash for purchases.
This is more than a mere inconvenience––it’s a liability.
One dispensary owner in Bend, Oregon reported making $55,000 on the first day of recreational marijuana sales alone. Without the ability to accept card sales, retail establishments are left with large amounts of cash on hand, which makes them a target for robberies.
Moreover, cash only sales decrease oversight. Counting large sums of money by hand is time-consuming and inaccurate.
It can lead to corruption as well since there is no paper trail holding business accountable for the taxable income collected. While most companies are following guidelines, the potential for inaccuracies still exists.
Although various solutions are being implemented in communities with recreational or medicinal marijuana, the lack of federal financial guidelines leaves much room for problems.
To make matters worse, potential new business owners are finding it difficult to obtain funding to start new ventures.
Since most federally insured banks are restricted from investing in the marijuana industry, many entrepreneurs are stuck trying to find alternative means of generating the funds to start their business.
By decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level, regulations can be changed so debit and credit purchases can be made at dispensaries.
Although this seems like a minor change, it helps establish legitimacy in an emerging marketplace, provides financial protection not currently available, and will bolster the new marijuana economy by making financial transactions more simple.