Gov. Polis Unveils Cannabis Banking Guide

Governor Unveils Marijuana Banking Guide to Help Banks Work with Cannabis Companies

Ever since medical marijuana became legal, banking has been a challenge for cannabis companies because of Federal regulations and restrictions regarding cannabis banking. Since marijuana legalization in Colorado, cannabis companies have had to operate as cash-based businesses as access to credit card processing systems for the marijuana industry is prohibited, making them targets for thieves and even resulting in employees being killed in robberies.

Gov. Polis has unveiled a banking guide to allow these businesses to utilize banking services within the state, making it easier for them to do business and improving public safety by removing the need for cash transactions.

What’s Changing?

On Monday, February 3, Governor Jared Polis and the State Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) announced initiatives to ‘increase the number of financial service providers in Colorado who serve the state’s legal marijuana and industrial hemp industries.’

In a statement announcing the implementation of these initiatives outlined in the Roadmap to Cannabis Banking & Financial Services, Gov. Polis made this statement: ‘As the first state to establish a legal marijuana industry and one of the first to implement an industrial hemp program, Colorado has become a national economic leader in the cannabis industry. We are excited to release a bold, forward-thinking roadmap to provide much needed guidance, clarity and support to state-chartered financial service providers that work with or are interested in working with the state’s legal cannabis industry.’

According to the Roadmap, ‘DORA is committed to providing regulatory clarity, advocating for legislative action, and identifying other opportunities to make financial services as
accessible to the cannabis-related industry as those afforded to other industries.’

The vision fueling the Roadmap, designed to make it easier to operate state licensed medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries and other cannabis-related businesses by improving cannabis banking practices through creating ‘basic business opportunities such as access to banking and financial services for cannabis-related businesses through state regulatory clarity’ will employ the following strategies:

    • Create a regulatory landscape where banking and financial service opportunities can be cultivated and as accessible as those afforded to other industries
    • Explore emerging technologies and business models in the financial services industry
    • Identify opportunities for state legislative and regulatory clarity for state-chartered financial institutions, state-licensed money transmitters and state-regulated insurance companies that seek to serve cannabis-related businesses.

The implementation of these strategies will include encouraging the use of new and emerging technologies such as virtual currency, providing regulatory guidance on the Bank Secrecy Act, Anti-Money Laundering compliance, reducing barriers to entry, and demonstrating support by submitting a letter in partnership along with other state bank regulators in support of federal legislation.

How did we get here and what does this mean for consumers?

This process has been a long time coming, with minimal progress being made in the last six years at the state level. Now that there is a roadmap in place, financial institutions will be able to work with the state to begin offering services to the state’s cannabis industry. This forward-thinking initiative will further establish Colorado as the leader in state controlled cannabis economics. This initiative will mean greater safety for cannabis businesses, and easier purchasing of cannabis products for patients, who will be able to use cards or cryptocurrency instead of being limited to cash, allowing for safer transactions overall.

If you live in the Colorado Springs area and need help or advice concerning treatment of a medical condition using medical marijuana, Medical Alternatives Clinic is here to help. Contact us at (719) 246-0393 for help in determining the best course of action, or email us your questions at To schedule an appointment with one of our medical marijuana experts, please visit our online portal. We offer convenient same day appointments when available for current and prospective medical marijuana patients and we can help you get your MMJ Red Card in three days or less!