Businesses that grow and sell pot say federal rules are pressuring banks to not do business with the industry.
John Davis, CEO of The Northwest Patient Resource Center, was told by its bank that his business could no longer have an account.
“I had 8,000 $20 bills and I didn’t think anything of it,” he said.
Cash absorbs the smell of marijuana and tellers could smell it on Davis’ deposit. The bank sent him a letter notifying him it could no longer serve him as a customer.
“If you directly work with Cannabis, it’s impossible to get a straight up bank account,” said Davis.
Regardless of state law, any bank that knowingly accepts money from a business selling an illegal drug could get in trouble with the federal government.
“Are you supposed to live your whole life in cash?” said Davis.
With as much as $50,000 in cash to pay vendors and payroll on some days, Davis fears it could attract trouble.
“If other people find out what your cycle is, then you could be really setting yourself up for the potential of robbery,” he said.
Instead of taking the risk, Davis acquired a bank account as a “holding company.”
“When the bank says what do you hold, you say well nothing yet, we don’t have a bank account. If you could hurry up that would be helpful,” said Davis.
Davis knows he can get dumped again at anytime.
“Stop the legalization or don’t. This murky half thing isn’t good for anyone,” he said.
Banks that accept money used from selling illegal drugs could face federal charges of money laundering. The state and federal government are still working out the details on how to interpret Washington’s new marijuana laws.