Why Marijuana is a Messy Business for Banks

Five local PBS news programs around the country, including “Chicago Tonight,” are examining marijuana legalization. This is the final installment in our series of reports.

While the use of marijuana is legal now in some form or another in the majority of the country, it is not legal with respect to federal laws. 

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Banks, whether they are federally chartered or state chartered, are all regulated by the feds. That means banks have to follow federal laws. And it makes for a messy business when it comes to how, when and with whom legal marijuana businesses can bank.

In the final installment of our series, Arizona PBS producer Allysa Adams found that in Arizona, where medical marijuana is legal, businesses are struggling to figure out how to handle the money.

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Attorneys general from 38 states recently signed a letter to Congress urging them to pass the Safe Banking Act or other legislation that would expand banking access for cannabis companies.  

Related stories:

Illinois Welcomes Weed, Waits on a Budget with Another Extended Session

In Massachusetts, Not Everyone Happy with Upscale Nature of Legal Pot

If Pot is Legalized in Illinois, What Happens to Medical Marijuana?

Marijuana is a Psychoactive Drug. But is it Really a Medicine?

The Growing Business of Cannabis in San Diego

How the Legalization Debate is Playing Out Across the US

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