More than 20 states now permit the retail sale of marijuana to at least some consumers. But those who want to purchase weed where it's state-legal often will need to bring cash because many of the retailers that sell the product operate outside the U.S. banking system.
That's because federal law still classifies marijuana as an illegal substance, says Rob Rowe, vice president and senior counsel of the American Bankers Association, a banking industry group in Washington, D.C. Under federal law, the possession or use of marijuana is illegal in all U.S. states.
Banks are heavily regulated and their interactions with marijuana businesses could run afoul of not only the federal Controlled Substance Act, but also several other federal statutes. That would present significant risks should they decide to accept marijuana businesses as customers.Read on: