Massachusetts should consider creating a state-run bank to serve recreational marijuana companies, the state’s top cannabis official suggested Wednesday, warning that an all-cash industry would create security risks and regulatory headaches.
With recreational pot sales scheduled to begin in July, Cannabis Control Commission chairman Steve Hoffman said no local banks or credit unions have committed to providing financial services to recreational marijuana shops and other licensed cannabis operations, wary they will run afoul of federal restrictions.
“There’s a high degree of urgency, so it’s something we need to start talking about,” Hoffman said in an interview. “Unfortunately, it’s a real possibility” that the recreational industry won’t have access to any banking services, he said. “We’re working as hard as we can to preempt that, but we can’t force any bank or credit union to service this industry.”
Without banks, marijuana businesses would have to deal exclusively in cash — for sales to customers and between retailers and suppliers, to meet payroll, and make tax payments to the state. [Read More @ the Boston Globe]