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Medical Marijuana Business Conference to Address Banking Dilemma
Medical Marijuana Business Conference to Address Banking Dilemma

The Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference is scheduled for January 30th and 31st at the Ashland Springs Hotel.

The conference will bring together leading figures from the cannabis industry and some 200 participants to prepare for the license application process, banking, insurance, lab testing, accounting and security practices essential in operating legal medical marijuana dispensaries.

A “Catch 22” in federal banking laws has already proved to be a serious problem in Colorado, where legal pot shops have generated high cash flows, but have found no cache in which to secure their profits and conduct business.

Banking restrictions related to laws preventing money laundering from the sale of illegal substances are at the center of this rub. Like Colorado, Oregon is also at odds with the federal Controlled Substances Act, which still regards marijuana as illegal.

A representative of the National Cannabis Industry Association has stated that lack of access to banking is the No. 1 business issue and a public safety hazard, exposing sellers to robbery and pilfering.

The NCIA’s concerns have been validated by several Colorado statesmen in a joint letter to the Justice and Treasury departments noting the crime danger of a cash economy. The senators and congressmen also addressed the difficulty of taxing, auditing and regulating a business that doesn’t operate through normal financial channels.

Rep. Peter Buckley, co-chairman of the Ways & Means Committee of the Oregon Legislature is a participant in the cannabis conference. He has commented that medical marijuana business operators are trying to professionalize the industry, but must have access to banking services to succeed. Buckley believes it is on the federal government to step back and allow the process to move forward.

“Catch 22” aside, the Oregon Health Authority will begin taking applications to license medical marijuana dispensaries on March 1st.
Posted by Tom Ray