California’s Tax Collector Wants To Bank Legal Cannabis

August 19, 2015 – In The News
Yahoo! Finance

Chris Pippett was featured in Yahoo! Finance article “California's Tax Collector Wants To Bank Legal Cannabis.” Full text can be found in the August 19, 2015, issue, but a synopsis is below.

In recent years, marijuana has become legalized in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia for recreational use. Due to banking laws, most marijuana businesses are all-cash enterprises, so California’s Board of Equalization is trying to become a bank for the state’s legal marijuana sector.

Dealing in all cash and with no paper trail may be considered a problem; only about 35 percent of 300 businesses are paying taxes, which is something the California’s Board of Equalization is hoping to control.

As of August 2014, 105 banks were known to do business with marijuana-related businesses. But Chris Pippett believes, “Those businesses —despite a well-publicized Justice Department memo regarding banking for the marijuana sector— are operating in a gray area.”

He says, "Those memos basically state the government is not going to devote resources to prosecution. This is not permission; it’s a lot more work than most banks and credit unions are probably used to doing."