The Legal Marijuana Market Grew By 80 Percent Last Year, And It's Still Mostly Cash.

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Originally posted Feb. 17, 2015. Original text below:

Thanks to recreational legalization in Colorado and Washington, the U.S. marijuana industry exploded from $1.5 billion to $2.7 billion in one year. But now, businesses making hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars a week are facing a serious problem: There's nowhere to stash all the money. 

Most banks are still afraid to take money from marijuana-related businesses because of the severe penalties attached to money laundering charges. So while Congress and the Obama administration took steps to legalize banking for marijuana-related businesses last year by ostensibly shielding them from money laundering prosecution if they were to do business with dispensaries operating within state laws, many financial institutions have not forgotten the lessons of 2011, when an administration that said it wouldn't raid state-compliant medical marijuana dispensaries did just that.

That's where companies like Blue Line Protection Group enter. Launched shortly after Colorado and Washington voted to legalize recreational marijuana, Blue Line provides what they call a "suite of services" to dispensary owners: assistance navigating the maze of state, local, and federal regulations, protection and delivery of the weed, protection of the massive piles of cash, and delivery of said cash for payment to appropriate government agencies. That's right, they deliver piles of (federally) illegal drug money directly to the IRS and watch as the agents count it.

"We go so far as to even return the receipts back to our customers," says Ricky Bennett, vice president of operations at Blue Line.

Watch Reason TV's profile of Blue Line Protection group above for a glimpse inside an industry that's growing so quickly that the government and other entrenched interests can't keep up. 

Approximately 4 minutes. Produced by Zach Weissmueller. Music by Zero Page and BoxCat Games. Scroll down for downloadable versions of this video.

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43 responses to “The Legal Marijuana Market Grew By 80 Percent Last Year, And It's Still Mostly Cash.

  1. protection of the massive piles of cash, and delivery of said cash for payment to appropriate government agencies. That’s right, they deliver piles of (federally) illegal drug money directly to the IRS and watch as the agents count it.

    Does the IRS still clobber them at some point for “structuring”, though?

    1. Not if they never deposit it in a bank.

    1. Nice, but the gun grabbers don’t give a shit about crime. They want you to be unable to defend yourself, that is all.

      1. Something something guns something something only criminals.

      2. Like you can defend your self from a modern army with a 50cal rifle.

        Or do you think you should be able to access the stuff the government/establishment developed through the free market…like Plutonium warheads?

  2. That’s right, they deliver piles of (federally) illegal drug money directly to the IRS and watch as the agents count it.

    filthy lucre.

    The IRS should take the moral high ground and dissolve itself immediately. Preferably in something caustic.

    1. What do you think a business that actually sold herbal medicine would generate in revenue?

      Who is the dishonest group, the IRS or the people selling “herbal medicine?”

  3. Pl?ya Manhattan.|2.21.15 @ 11:48PM|#

    JUST SAY NO TO BO.

    DO YOUR PART!!!

    Palin’s Buttplug|2.22.15 @ 7:54AM|#

    Playa is a juvenile who just wants to hang out with what he perceives as the cool kids so he can swap recipes and gossip. He is a fucking flighty little girl who thinks he is the cutest cheerleader.

    And he never brings any intellect into a debate. Just churlish little insults like his BFF Sevo. At least fellow Team Red cheerleader Irish can hold an argument.

    It’s time someone stood up to the paper bully.

    1. Thanks for pointing this out.

      The one thing I’ve always appreciated about–*Palin’s Buttplug*– is that he ‘s never juvenile and always brings so much intellect to the debate.

      And those other guys may be paper bullies, but Palin’s Buttplug is a real tiger, and everyone know it?!

      GGGggggggggggggrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

      1. Shreek is a griefer, pure and simple. There’s even less of a reason to interact with him than Bo. Just say no is right.

        1. I wasn’t expecting to wake up to an asshole alliance, that’s for sure.

    2. Turd lies. And now turd is butt-hurt. Screw turd with a street lamp post.

    3. At least fellow Team Red cheerleader Irish can hold an argument.

      Your obsession with me would be kind of cute if I didn’t have the sneaking suspicion that you’re hiding in the bushes outside my house.

      1. hiding in the bushes outside my house.

        Pantsless, jerking off every time he sees you responding to one of his posts.

        The wall under your window is going to be so crusty.

  4. I’m barber,employed ,and most of my client pay cash.Love it,no card fees to pay,and almost no bad checks to collect.

  5. self employed

  6. “Thanks to recreational legalization in Colorado and Washington, the U.S. marijuana industry exploded from $1.5 billion to $2.7 billion in one year.”

    Our enemies would use that quote against us.

    I would write that thanks to recreational legalization, $2.7 billion has been siphoned out of the gang infested black market and away from the narco-traffickers.

    If we keep this legalization push up, the gangs and narco-traffckers will need to have some layoffs.

    That $2.7 billion was all profit for the bad guys. And for all we know, the industry may be shrinking.

    1. I would write that thanks to recreational legalization, $2.7 billion has been siphoned out of the gang infested black market and away from the narco-traffickers.

      Ken, if we would only increase the DEA’s funding by a few hundred billion dollars, and give the ONDCP dictatorial authority, and be willing to sacrifice thousands of people to bloody violence, we could end the scourge of drug gangs once and for all. A free market could never do that.

    2. black market

      Racist.

    3. They will just become part of the “normal” establishment.

  7. And the plot thickens.

    I didn’t expect this to turn into s twofer,

    1. Can you fill those of us who have fascr/reasonable in on the basic gist?

      1. Yesterday, I suggested that people ignore Bo. Then he formed some sort of asshole alliance with Palin’s Buttplug (for obvious reasons).

        The asshole alliance is upset at me, and apparently Sevo, for some reason.

        Intersting stuff. 2 people who desperately want attention while they fuck up Hit and Run.

        1. I saw that you’d told people to ignore Bo. Then I came back to that thread later in the day and Reasonable informed me that Bo had commented most recently. I assumed there was some sort of ongoing shitfit and quickly decided that thread was not for me.

          It sounds like I made the right choice.

        2. I see.

          Alternatively, they could both be the same person.

          1. “Cutest cheerleader” does sound a little Bo-like…

            I think this sums it up nicely:

            “He’s a fountain of misplaced rage. Name your cliche; Mother held him too much or not enough, last picked at kickball, late night sneaky uncle, whatever. Now he’s so angry that moments of levity actually cause him pain; give him headaches. Happiness, for that gentleman, hurts.”

            1. “Cutest cheerleader” does sound a little Bo-like…

              It does.

              But the hate on the recipes is classic Buttplug. Always on coke benders and never hungry.

              1. Always on coke benders and never hungry.

                Fuck him, then. I got a great chile verde recipe during that stint of responding to him with recipes. I would like to see that practice resurrected.

                1. chile verde recipe

                  Go on…

                  Does Reason need a new video series of The Jacket trying to cook commenter posted recipes?

                  1. Heh, I found it.

                    https://reason.com/archives/201…..nt_4182515

                    Can the Jacket cook? I assumed he has minions for that.

          2. It’s looking more and more likely at this point.

        3. If bringing a different POV to the table fucks up H+R, that suggests that H+R was in pretty fragile shape to begin with.

  8. Anyone seen the pilot for the Amazon T.V. show version of Man in the High Castle?

    It’s supposed to be good and I was just wondering if anyone’s seen it and can offer any opinions.

    The opening title sequence is pretty cool.

    1. It’s worth watching. It took me a few minutes to settle into it, but by the end I was very much hoping they’d pick it up for a full season (which they did).

    2. Another thumbs up from me. Waiting for the rest of the season to be released.

      I think there’s some slight alterations from the book as far as the characters go and some of the initial stuff but don’t quote me on it. It’s been a while since I last read it.

  9. ” I got a great chile verde recipe during that stint of responding to him with recipes. I would like to see that practice resurrected.”

    Sear 3lbs seasoned beef short ribs in a skillet. (your choice of seasoning. I use Tony Chachere’s)
    Criss-cross layer them in a pressure cooker
    Chop one medium onion and place in cooker on top of ribs
    Add 1 cup beef broth
    2 tbs brown sugar
    2 tbs honey
    1/4 cup red wine

    Pressure cook on high for one hour

    Serve over rice (basmati)

    So good it will bring tears to your eyes. If you cook this for your wife you are guaranteed to get laid, that is, if you can keep from eating too much.

    1. *Also add 1/2-1/4 tsp cinnamon if you like.

      1. Now this is what I’m talking about. Much obliged, Suthenboy!

        If you cook this for your wife you are guaranteed to get laid…

        The new standard by which all future recipes will be judged!

  10. Sounds ike some pretty serious busienss to me dude.

    http://www.FullAnon.tk

  11. I can’t help but be bothered by the waste in all this. An entire industry is stuck using the most primitive means of financing available. All this money should be being plowed back into the economy through basic financial intermediation. Instead, its just sitting there.

  12. This is not the creation of a new market or new revenue….it is merely the movement of a long established market from the dark into the light.

    There is no reason for a bank to ask about your herbal medicine shop that sells specialty dried herbs for medical use.

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