The $1.2 Billion Question: Where to Store Cannabis Cash?
Ryan Allway | CannabisFN.com
The cannabis industry could generate upwards of $11 billion in revenue by 2019, according to ArcView Market Research, and the majority of it is in $20 bills. Since marijuana remains illegal on a federal level, and banks require access to the Federal Reserve to operate, the majority of dispensaries must run payroll, pay taxes, and cover expenses in cash. These dynamics create both security risks for employees and owners, as well as a headache when it comes to tracking.
“Without a business bank account, simply paying our bills is a challenge,” says Dieneka Manzanares, who owns Sweet Leaf Pioneer Dispensary in Eagle, Colorado. “Every month, we have to drive to Denver to pay our sales tax with physical currency, where we must be escorted by a security officer. Businesses like ours need a regulated financial system because being forced to operate as a cash-only business is both a major hassle and makes the most routine parts of our business – like paying taxes and bills – a major safety issue.”
In December of 2014, the company’s Carbondale, Colorado store was robbed by armed, masked men that handcuffed an employee and stole cash and marijuana.
Companies like Blue Line Protection Group (OTCQB: BLPG) and CSA Holdings Inc. (OTCBB: CSAX) help marijuana companies securely store and transport cash, but on-site robberies have been a consistent burden facing the young industry. According to many business owners, the only real solution will be full access to the banking sector in order to reduce the amount of cash on hand that needs to be securely stored and transported at least monthly.
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