How medical marijuana dispensaries handle money is a huge problem nationwide. Just. Plain. Huge. In January, the Los Angeles Times reported that the whole industry is on track to bring in about $7 billion in revenue in 2018, which means the problem’s only going to get worse.
The problem is very simple: though many states, including Hawaii, have legalized the sale of marijuana for medicinal purposes, the federal government still considers the drug completely illegal. That means banks–regulated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)–refuse to do business with anyone who handles medical marijuana money. And that means the dispensaries that are doing business right now are doing so on a cash-only system. Given the $7 billion in revenue this industry is on track to bring in, that just invites all sorts of trouble.
But now Hawaii state officials say they have a solution.