Cash-only dispensaries could be on their way out in MO, lawmakers debate – Columbia Missourian

Medical marijuana businesses in the United States struggle to find banks that will provide financial services due to marijuana being a federally prohibited controlled substance.

SB 489, if passed, would allow Missouri banks to provide financial services to medical marijuana companies. State Sen. Steven Roberts, D-St. Louis, is the sponsor of the bill that would allow the businesses to receive loans, make deposits and invest funds.

While the bill wouldn’t be able to bypass federal law, Roberts said the federal marijuana restrictions aren’t being followed anyways with the licensing of medical marijuana dispensaries. He mentioned that some prosecutors in cities aren’t enforcing federal marijuana laws.

Many of Missouri’s medical marijuana businesses are forced to operate as cash-only facilities due to the difficulty in securing financial services. Roberts said this creates a public safety issue for the business owners and employees, while adding a burden on the business.

Jay Patel, founder and CEO of Green Releaf Dispensary, testified in support of the bill. He said that about four banks in Missouri provide financial services to medical marijuana businesses, and Green Releaf Dispensary is fortunate to receive financial services from one of the banks.

With 192 medical marijuana dispensaries licensed in Missouri, Patel said there are

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