published Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Colorado lawmakers approve plan for pot banking

  • photo
    Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont, listens Wednesday to discussion on a bill he sponsored which would allow marijuana dispensaries to form financial co-operatives, at the Colorado Legislature, in Denver.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Colorado lawmakers have approved a plan for the first financial system designed specifically for the burgeoning marijuana industry.

The vote on Wednesday would create a network of uninsured cooperatives meant to give pot businesses a way to access basic banking services.

The plan seeks to move Colorado's marijuana industry away from its cash-only roots. The U.S. Treasury Department's has tried to assure banks they can serve the pot businesses under certain conditions without running afoul of federal law, which considers pot illegal. But most banks still refuse to work with pot businesses, saying the rules aren't clear.

The co-ops would take effect only if the U.S. Federal Reserve agrees to allow the co-ops to do things like accept credit cards or checks.

Colorado is the first state to allow recreational pot sales.

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