The Associated Press is reporting that California is quickly moving forward with a plan to establish a system of banks to work with the marijuana industry which is legal under state law, but illegal under federal law.
Given that legal marijuana businesses are shut out of the traditional banking system by federal laws, proponents of the new push argue that they would benefit if the state approves a measure creating a special class of banks to handle pot money.
The state Senate voted 35 to 1 on Tuesday to pass a bill that would allow people to start banks and credit unions that could accept cash deposits from marijuana retailers.
Those banks could issue special checks to the retailers that could only be used for certain purposes, including paying taxes and California-based vendors.
State lawmakers also say such banks would make it easier for licensed pot retailers to pay their taxes, which fell far short of expectations in the first year after legalization.
“This is as close as we can get until the federal government changes its policy,” said Sen. Bob Hertzberg, a Van Nuys Democrat and the author of the bill that now goes