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Paper money keeps the legal marijuana industry green

Reuters/Lucy Nicholson
Cash preferred.
  • John Detrixhe
By John Detrixhe

Future of finance reporter

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

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.

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