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Coachella Valley Region

Marijuana Dispensary Owners Struggle To Deposit Cash

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Coachella Valley Region -

It's a growing problem for marijuana retail shops. The cash flow is coming in, but pot shop owners have few places to park it.

Since marijuana is still federally illegally, federal banks won't accept money made form the sale of marijuana. Instead pot shop owners are relying on state banks and credit unions to house their cash. CPA Sabby Jonathan says that can be a problem.  

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"Because cannabis is still a schedule one listed substance, for federal purposes, than the business for federal purposes is considered illegal and therefore banks which are typically federally chartered, do not want anything to do with the cannabis industry," Jonathan said. 

While some state banks will accept cash deposits, dispensary owners say they are bending over backwards to make that happen. And the banks themselves are keeping the dealings hush-hush because of the very sketchy and probably temporary deposit guidelines. Tax professionals say depositing the cash is only half the problem for pot shop owners. Paying taxes is another issue. 

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"All of these entities have set up special access with special hours for registered businesses to make their deposits in cash. It's a huge inconvenience and again a risk because you're transporting cash," said Jonathan.

Some dispensary owners rely on armored cars to transport, and in some cases, store their money. But none of them would speak on camera about it.

"For federal purposes, because it's considered an illegal activity, cannabis businesses are considered to be illegal drug traffickers,  and therefore operating expenses are not deductible," Jonathan said.   

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