Several companies preparing to open medical marijuana businesses in New York state say they have established relationships with banks as some dispensaries outside the state have struggled with cash-only operations. Because the substance remains illegal under federal law, banks have been cautious, shying away from doing business with dispensaries and manufacturers in other states where medical and/or recreational marijuana is already available.
Five New York corporations are approved to begin manufacturing and dispensing the drug in January, 18 months after state lawmakers passed the Compassionate Care Act allowing medical marijuana to be used by patients with certain illnesses. Three plan to open dispensaries in Albany County. Federally, marijuana is illegal and classified as a Schedule I drug, defined as a drug that has high potential for abuse and has no currently accepted medical use. Medical marijuana is legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia.
Empire State Health Solutions in Fulton County, which plans to distribute medical marijuana in four New York counties, will pay its employees and bills through banking services, said CEO Kyle Kingsley. He declined to identify the banks that his company uses. [Read more at the Albany Times-Union]