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A Report From the State Treasurer’s Cannabis Banking Working Group.

Lack of access to banking services that are taken for granted by other legal businesses—opening accounts, writing checks, accepting credit cards, transferring money—forces cannabis businesses to deal in large amounts of cash, which makes them targets for assaults and puts the general public in danger. Security and procedural concerns about handling massive amounts of cash also create a nightmare for state and local government revenue-collecting agencies. In addition, the inability of cannabis operations to get banking services means that many of them may remain in the underground economy and not become transparent, regulated, tax-paying businesses, as California voters intended.

Faced with these concerns, late last year I directed the staff of the State Treasurer’s Office to carry out research and develop recommendations on strategies to address the cannabis banking conundrum. As the state’s banker, I felt an obligation to fulfill the wishes of the voters when they passed Proposition 64 in November 2016.

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