Banking and cannabis have not always gone hand-in-hand, but some banks choose to work with marijuana businesses. And Dayton's own Wright-Patt Credit Union has announced that they will do just that by opening their doors to the Ohio medical marijuana industry, offering "limited banking services" to cannabis businesses.
According to WDTN, Wright-Patt Credit Union's board of directors gave the OK to offer their services to Ohio's cannabis industry after careful review of their policies.
“Offering banking services," Doug Fecher, president and CEO of WPCU, told WDTN, "aligns with Wright-Patt Credit Union’s commitment to support under-served businesses.”
Wright-Patt Credit Union is the first bank in Ohio to offer banking services of any kind to the Ohio medical marijuana industry. This move could mark the first of many Ohio credit unions to offer cannabis a helping hand.
“By offering banking services to medical marijuana companies operating legally in Ohio," Fecher said, "Wright-Patt Credit Union is contributing to the health and safety of our communities by allowing money to be accounted for and taxed."
Why is banking nearly impossible for the marijuana industry?
The medical marijuana industry in Ohio is finally gearing up to open throughout winter 2018 (and early 2019), which means that soon patients will be able to buy marijuana flower, in addition to processed cannabis products, like edibles, oils and creams. But what happens to your money after you buy your cannabis? Well, that's where things get tricky...
Despite roughly one dozen states with recreational programs, and over half the country with medical marijuana programs, cannabis is still illegal under federal law. At current all cannabis products are considered Schedule 1 narcotics on the DEA's list of Controlled Substances. This means that, in the eyes of the federal government, pot has no medicinal value and a high potential for abuse.
While science and facts have long challenged this outdated provisional ruling on cannabis, until the federal government makes a move to lower marijuana to Schedule II, III or even IV or V, nothing will change. But lowering the status of reefer would effectively end the federal prohibition of cannabis and allow the medical marijuana industry to run much more smoothly (technically speaking).
Alas, until that day happens, cannabis is still illegal under federal law. As such, any banks that are federally funded are prohibited from working with the cannabis industry. This means that many cannabis businesses must operate on a cash-only basis. Not only is this method dangerous (robberies can occur), but it's also not an exact science, and it prohibits some businesses from being able to pay their state and federal taxes properly, or without penalty.
Credit unions are different in that they are not funded by federal dollars, and are free to act as a banking service for the cannabis industry. Though services are typically limited, cannabis companies who use banks help show the federal government that they wish to work together, instead of against each other.
With some luck, we will see the end of the federal prohibition of cannabis within the next decade. With major countries considering loosening their marijuana laws, and countries like Canada already offering fully legal weed, now is the time to act before the United States falls behind on this issue.
If you are an Ohioan suffering from one of these 21 medical conditions you may be eligible to treat your ailment with medical marijuana.
Click here to learn more about what Ohio Marijuana Card's state-certified medical marijuana doctors can do for you, or give us a call at 1-866-457-5559 and our friendly support team can walk you through the entire process, and set you up with an appointment.