Skip to navigationSkip to content
Reuters/Lucy Nicholson
Cash preferred.
HASH FOR CASH

Paper money keeps the legal marijuana industry green

Member exclusive by John Detrixhe for The Future of Cash

Good luck paying for pot by tapping your Fitbit. To the dismay of some in the industry, marijuana is a business that runs almost entirely on cash.

Following the November midterm elections, 10 states in the US have broadly legalized marijuana, and it’s legal for medicinal use in more than a dozen others. But it’s still a “Schedule 1” controlled substance—the same classification as heroin—at the federal level. Banks are reluctant to work with marijuana businesses even in states that have legalized it because they could be charged with money laundering.

You are reading a Quartz member exclusive.

Become a member to keep reading this story and unlock unlimited access to all of Quartz.

Membership will also get you:

Exclusive videos that show you how the world is changing faster than ever before

Deeper access to our journalists and the Quartz community

Our extensive archive of guides on the forces that are shaping our future