In Colorado, Laws and regulations on medical marijuana are tighter than ever, forcing many dispensary owners out of business. While the use of marijuana is legal in Colorado for registered medical marijuana patients, some of the strictest marijuana regulations and laws in the U.S. are currently in place in Colorado, not allowing much room for growth in the state's medicinal marijuana industry.
Recently, Colorado officials announced medical marijuana account holders were losing their only existing partner in banking, The Colorado Springs State Bank. Licensed medical marijuana account holders have until the end of September to close their accounts, leaving many in a panic of what to do. Other banks in the past have refused the business of medical marijuana account holders because marijuana is illegal under federal law. In an effort to keep it consistent across the board, The Colorado Springs State Bank has finally determined that marijuana account holders are doing something considered illegal to the federal government, and therefore they should not continue doing business with companies who are participating in these activities. For medical marijuana account owners, there are no other Colorado banks willing to provide a business bank account for dispensaries, definitely making it more difficult for Coloradans to maintain a successful career in the marijuana industry.
Perhaps a greater problem now exists for Colorado officials enforcing these laws. With no banks in agreement, licensed medical marijuana account holders are unable to hold bank accounts and therefore have to turn to cash only if they want to see their business (and likely only source of income) survive. With a cash only system, accounting and tracking of the medicinal cannabis being dispensed is highly likely to be inaccurate, as opposed to the past electronic banking systems linked with customer’s personal information. Now that medical marijuana dispensary owners in Colorado have to follow new banking regulations, it will be difficult for them to follow previously installed regulations set by the state government that set standarts and requirements for accounting and recording in the medical marijuana industry.
In addition, a cash system makes the MMJ business more dangerous and nerve-wracking for Colorado marijuana dispensary owners and medical marijuana patients alike. With so much cash at each shop, being exchanged for meds, the desire for criminal activity at pot shops increases. Medical marijuana business owners will have to adjust to a cash only system, ensuring safety measurements are in place. Efforts are being made to reduce the amount of regulations involving the growing, buying, selling and dispensing of marijuana used for medical purposes. For patients who are suffering from terminal illness, cancer or other untreatable sicknesses, marijuana is a reasonable treatment, yet regulations are making it harder for dispensary owners to sell the marijuana to those who really need it. With laws and regulations that are continuously changing, medical marijuana account holders have to work harder to understand these updates and ensure their business is staying in compliance with the laws. All in all, marijuana regulations in Colorado are making it much harder for dispensary owners to stay in business and provide a needed service to registered medical marijuana patients.