Lansing — Michigan is pulling in more than $1 million a month in tax revenue from medical marijuana businesses — and most of it is coming in the form of cold, hard cash.
With legal recreational sales on the horizon, state regulators and business groups are working to address one of the most vexing issues facing the budding industry: Banks remain wary of working with cannabis companies because the drug remains illegal at the federal level.
“The biggest hurdle is the fact that it is considered, by federal standards, money laundering,” said Patricia Herndon, senior vice president of government relations at the Michigan Bankers Association.
The lack of banking options leaves cash-only businesses susceptible to crime, complicates state tax collections and limits opportunities for legal companies to expand, according to government and industry officials.
“The biggest thing is safety,” said Jerry Millen, co-owner of the Greenhouse Dispensary in Walled Lake, which he believes is one “one of the very, very few” cannabis companies that has a bank. “I want to make sure my employees are safe, my patients and customers are safe, so I don’t want to have a facility that just has a large amount of cash lying around.” [Read More @ Detroit News]