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Marijuana Banks Face Tough Going Without Feds' Help

marijuana business newsDENVER -- A newly approved state plan aimed at helping Colorado's marijuana stores handle the vast sums of greenbacks ringing through their cash registers may be dead on arrival unless Congress steps in.

State lawmakers late Wednesday night approved a law giving marijuana-store owners the right to create cannabis co-operatives, which would operate like banks or credit unions. Gov. John Hickenlooper previously indicated he would sign a slightly different bill, but has repeatedly called on federal lawmakers to change laws on the national level.

Most banks and credit unions have refused to do business with Colorado's rapidly expanding marijuana industry over fears of violating federal money-laundering laws. The end result? Many marijuana stores operate entirely with cash, paying their vast electric bills, taxes and construction loans with stacks of greenbacks, requiring armed guards to protect it.

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