Cash-only possible for first pot sales in Mass.
By Dan Adams Globe Staff June 16, 2018
The first stores licensed to sell recreational marijuana in Massachusetts should be open in a few weeks. But anyone hoping to plunk down $60 for an eighth of an ounce of weed might have to leave the plastic at home and bring some twenties instead.
With the July debut of the legal pot industry fast approaching, not a single financial institution in the state has stepped forward to say it will provide banking services to companies that grow, process, or sell marijuana products for recreational use.
That could mean cannabis companies will be forced to deal solely in cash. That would be a major headache for operators who would have to meet payroll and pay taxes with stacks of bills. It also raises security concerns, potentially adding to the nervousness of local officials already skeptical of allowing pot shops in their communities.
“It’s a major concern,” said David Torrisi, executive director of the Commonwealth Dispensary Association, which runs medical marijuana dispensaries and expects to soon receive state licenses to sell recreational pot. “We could open without banking, but we’d really rather not.”
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Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission chairman Steve Hoffman has met repeatedly with local banks and credit unions to encourage them to do business with companies licensed by his agency. So far none has jumped at the chance.
“People were there — they were listening, they were asking questions, they took my business card,” Hoffman said about his meetings with financial executives. “A lot of people who run banks and credit unions are thinking about it. . . I don’t think it’s a crisis as much as something