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Banks, including state-chartered ones, are reluctant to provide traditional services to legal marijuana businesses in Washington state and Colorado. Since the marijuana businesses are conducted almost entirely in cash, it is exceedingly difficult for these shop owners to open and maintain bank accounts, and ultimately accept credit cards.

1. Why won’t the banks open up the system to these merchants? What assurances are they waiting for?
2. What are some of the ways in which marijuana merchants have obtained a bank account? Even if a marijuana merchant somehow gets a bank account, why is it common for a legitimate marijuana business to go through a half-dozen bank accounts in a few years?
3. What is the ATM loophole that some merchants have been effective in using?

Kovaleski, S. (2014). Banks Say No to Marijuana Money, Legal or Not. The New York Times, Jan. 11(Retrievable online at
KONG News Video. (2013) WA Pot industry struggles to find banks to do business, April 6 (Retrievable online at