Like Michael Corleone, medical marijuana dispensaries are having problems going legit.
Never mind that 16 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical use. Banks and other financial institutions are treating anything that has to do with the medical marijuana industry like six year olds and the cooties.
Threats by the U.S. Attorneys to treat the revenues of medical marijuana businesses as monies raised by criminal enterprises and that the IRS is not allowing regular business deductions for collectives have caused banks to reconsider their relationships with anything that has to do with medical marijuana.
The collectives want to have the bank accounts and paper trails of other businesses, but banks either refuse to allow them to open an account or freeze their assets after they've been doing business. This drives many collectives and dispensaries to a cash-only model.
"I have a business license and federal tax ID number, but not a bank account," Laura Healy, co-founder of Walla Walla, Wash. collective Green Hope told The Seattle Times. On one hand they treat her like a normal businesses, she added, then treat her like a criminal with the other.