Drugs and bank accounts: together again?

Business banking news review: week ending 8 May 2014

The news this week has been a clearinghouse of the bizarre, what with a troubling number of drugs-related stories centering around banking of all things.

First comes the story of a 30 year old man who was so drug-addled by his addictions that not only did he run up a company credit card to pay for his habit but also drained his father’s current accounts of nearly £7,000. Now that he’s caught red-handed he has of course apologised, but not before engaging in the kind of narcotics binge that would make Hunter S. Thompson pause, take the lad alongside him and say, ‘son, don’t you think you’re overdoing it a bit?’

I can only hope the young man has learnt his lesson. At the very least, he should have moved to the United States where there’s a precedent for this type of thing. Oh, haven’t you heard? Legislators in Colorado, one of the newest states to decriminalise marijuana, has unveiled a business bank account system specifically for those dealing in the now suddenly legal drug.

That’s right – the Centennial State has decided to push off from the cash-only drugs industry in a bid to legitimise the business. Even with the legality of marijuana no longer in question, a pot grower in Colorado would be hard-pressed to secure a business loan from a traditional lender – especially because at the federal level the United States still sees the drug as illegal – but the tide is slowly turning on at least the state level and now marijuana growers and sellers are being offered new ways to keep their businesses on the up-and-up.

If anything, the US Treasury says that it’s keen to start collecting taxes from the sale and growth of marijuana now that both Colorado and Washington have legalised the drug. Whilst the majority of US banks are still refusing to do business with pot growers, Colorado lawmakers are pushing through a bill that will allow for the creation of marijuana industry co-operatives, which will act much in the same way that credit unions function, but exclusively for pot growers and sellers. It’s a brave new world we’re living in, ladies and gents!

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