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Alaska credit union to serve marijuana businesses

A credit union will launch a pilot program to begin serving marijuana businesses in Alaska, giving the cash-reliant industry a financial option after banks shunned the industry.

Most banks and credit card processors in the U.S. won’t service marijuana businesses because of the federal prohibition on marijuana.

Credit Union 1 announced its decision Thursday and said it comes with no political or moral position on marijuana.

Safety concerns were a significant factor, and providing the service would keep massive amounts of cash off the streets, according to CEO James Wileman.

“It’s a lot of cash,” he said. “Imagine running your own life without having access to banking.”

The state-chartered credit union also strives to provide services to the underserved, Wileman said, adding, “this segment of business is completely not served.”

He expects the pilot program to begin in the first half of 2019.

Kelly Mazzei with the state’s tax division said the agency supports the move as a time-saver because it will cut down on counting cash. “This is extremely good news for the state,” she said. [Read more at SF Gate]

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