Federal Law Drives Legal Marijuana Businesses To Deal in Cash Only

Which has its up-sides


Every day, John Davis sends an employee to his local bank with a bag of $3,000 in cash -- and he makes sure it doesn't smell like weed.

Banks and credit card companies are staying away from marijuana businesses, forcing growers and sellers to deal mostly in cash. In response, when pot businesses deal with banks, it's usually in disguise.

That's just one byproduct of the nation's mismatched drug laws.

Washington State has long allowed for medical marijuana, and it legalized pot for recreational use last year. But financial institutions still face intense pressure from federal authorities, because pot is illegal under the nation's Controlled Substances Act. Banks that deal with cannabis businesses open themselves up to accusations of money laundering, so they avoid it altogether.