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Kansas City Fed President Sits Down With Top Pot Industry Brass

Senior pot execs are demanding a little respect.
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The pot industry is sick of having the (bank) door slammed in its face. Buying a couple pounds of 90210 kush would be a nice gesture, but Janet Yellen needs to a lot more, and fast.

The pot barons' meeting with Esther George, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, shows that the fledgling industry's lack of access to the financial system is now receiving high-level attention at the central bank, which is facing growing pressure from states like Colorado...The meeting came as the Kansas City Fed mulls an application that would allow the Fourth Corner Credit Union, a newly established state-chartered institution that plans to focus on the marijuana industry, to open its doors. The central bank's decision could set a precedent with nationwide implications...George [expressed] sympathy for marijuana merchants who have often been forced to operate in cash, according to Andrew Freedman, Colorado's director of marijuana coordination, who attended Thursday's meeting. One pot dispensary owner described having been kicked out of 12 different banks, according to attendees. Other businesspeople spoke about the public-safety concerns associated with cash-only enterprises. "Many small business owners have even had to hire armed guards to escort staffers when it's time to pay taxes because their profits are in cash," Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., who helped organize the session, told reporters afterward...

Given the potential ramifications of Fourth Corner's application, the matter is likely getting attention from the Fed's Board, said Bert Ely, a bank industry consultant. "I suspect that this is being discussed at the highest levels of the Fed, because of the precedent-setting effects," he said. "I can't imagine that this is a decision that would be made by Kansas City."

Top Fed Official Meets with Pot Industry over Banking Impasse [CU Journal]


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