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Banks wary of taking on medical marijuana customers
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Banks wary of taking on medical marijuana customers

Oct 24, 2014

 

10 News Tampa Bay -  TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- People against medical marijuana in Florida have come out in full force. Groups like the Associated Industries of Florida say it would be bad for businesses.

 
"Putting in a guaranteed availability of marijuana or any other drug into the Florida constitution is a big mistake," said Tom Feeney, president and CEO of AIF.
 
Groups like the Associated Industries of Florida say it would be bad for businesses. That notion may prove true for companies hoping to sell the drug.
 
Banks - wary of violating federal law – are choosing not to take on customers that produce medical marijuana or give them loans.
 
"What do you do with the money?" said Florida lobbyist Jeff Sharkey.
 
Sharkey is a grower advocate who's helping businesses who want to open up shop if the drug is legalized. He says they have shown concern about the banking issue.
 
"People are trying to find a solution. The alternative is to drive around in a van with huge amounts of cash."
 
Outside of safety, what other kind of issues can it cause not being able to use a bank? You can't pay your bills online with a checking account. Nor can you apply for a debit or credit card. Also, you have to deal with the hassle of taking cash only for products and finding somewhere to store it.
 
Recently, President Barack Obama's administration cleared the way for banks to do business with legitimate medical marijuana companies. The Treasury Department and U.S. Justice Department both sent out memos outlining strict guidelines.
 
But, it doesn't protect banks from potential prosecution or penalties, leaving them uneasy.
 
"The trends seem to be moving to some kind of solution, but I think it's a couple years out probably," Sharkey said.
 
Florida residents have the choice to vote yes or no for medical marijuana come November 4th.

“If you choose to consume, please do so responsibly.” 

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