Retail marijuana stores have to deal in cash, as most major banks refuse to deal with them. This causes a very dangerous situation for the store owner, and stories are already circulating about the vulnerability of having so much cash on hand. However, it doesn't seem to be illegal for the banks to accept funds from cannabis shops, but these banks can be expensive and burdensome. Can a retail marijuana shop bank from a locally owned bank outside of their state to handle credit card transactions? In other words, can a retail store in Colorado bank with Maps Credit Union in Oregon, or even within a state that hasn't legalized recreational use?

1 Answer 1


This is an interesting idea, but very risky for the bank. Oregon and Washington's truce with the Feds involves strong state backing, banks willing to take risks that no Colorado bank has been willing to take, and a tacit understanding that the Feds will tolerate this because the banks know their customers and are very familiar with their state's regulatory regime so that they can distinguish between "marijuana limited" and "marijuana priority" accounts in their FinCen reports.

People in the industry (I represent quite a few in Colorado) are always looking for solutions to the banking issue. But, due to a combination of personalities in state government, the banking industry, the local branch office of the Fed, and so on, no one has managed to make that work in Colorado and federal government authorities are very primed to give a great deal of scrutiny to interstate operations of any kind.

  • Thank you ohwilleke. I've already seen news stories about how legalization has caused some crime to go up. I guess that's the feds intention, but anyone with sense can see that if the stores didn't have huge amounts of cash and product that's illegal everywhere else in the country, this wouldn't be a problem. Hopefully something gets figured out soon before anyone else gets hurt. Great answer and answer accepted!
    – Cannabijoy
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 3:59
  • @Joshua If you believe legalization has caused some crime to go up, you are misinformed. The only effect on crime has been to increase the proportion of driving while impaired cases involving marijuana while decreasing the total number of driving while impaired cases. Sure, there has been crime, just like there was before legalization, but on average the amount of crime is either the same or less. For example, underage marijuana use has gone down in Colorado since legalization and there are not elevated levels of robberies, burglaries or assaults near dispensaries.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 4:04
  • Oh trust me, I don't believe half of what is on the news :) But I've read stories, like about the "guy who got his penis cut off", and one of the news articles says that almost every shop has been robbed at least once. But yes, I'm sure things are much better because of legalization. Prohibition is a joke!
    – Cannabijoy
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 4:11
  • I tried to write you in chat, but I'm not sure if it notified you because it didn't automatically bring your name up. No rush, just wanted to make sure you got it. Thanks again.
    – Cannabijoy
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 4:12
  • Was there now and then before and after legalization an occasional Darwin award class guy who gets his penis cut off? Maybe, but vanishingly rare. More crime can be fairly attributed to Trump like a murder downtown this week at our rail station in Denver, than to marijuana. The claim that almost every shop has been robbed at least once is just not true, maybe subject to shoplifting, but not robbed.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 4:14

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