Michigan has no Banks to Process its $837 Million Medical Cannabis Industry

The deal comes as cannabis producers have been looking to strike agreements with distributors and firm up space with retailers as legalization in Canada approaches.
The deal comes as cannabis producers have been looking to strike agreements with distributors and firm up space with retailers as legalization in Canada approaches. (File mage via Reuters)

Michigan’s growing medical cannabis industry, projected to yield $837 million a year, has no banks to store its legal cash.

While medical marijuana has been legal in Michigan since 2008, a growing trend to further reinvigorate the western state’s already existing medical cannabis industry and legalize recreational marijuana is now taking place.

In 2016, Michigan lawmakers authorized a new medical marijuana industry, and the state began accepting applications to be a part of it on Dec. 15, MLive reported. In November 2017, legalization supporters submitted 365,000 signatures to get legal recreational cannabis on the 2018 ballot.

The growing trend has lured more people in Michigan to tap into this burgeoning industry. But the new joiners are facing a bigger issue: banks not accepting their money.

A House Fiscal Agency analysis of the bill lawmakers approved projected it would grow to $837 million annually, MLive reported.

Since the U.S. federal government crackdown in early January on states operating already legalized marijuana, banks have deemed marijuana transactions as high risks.

“It’s not that banks don’t want to. It becomes a very significant risk,” Patricia Herndon, senior vice president of government affairs for the Michigan Bankers Association, told MLive.

There are 146 businesses, who have submitted prequalifications with the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, and another 618 have started the online application process.

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