When Massachusetts banks look at recreational marijuana, they see the same opportunities that intrigue many investors and businesses: a fast-growing industry that could hit $1 billion in revenue by 2020 and will need lots of professional services, including banking.
But mostly, they see risk. And unless their entreaties to the federal government for greater comfort on the legal front are answered in short order, it seems unlikely any will provide banking services to the state’s pot market when it debuts in July, forcing cannabis companies to deal exclusively in cash and raising a host of related security and oversight concerns.
“We always think it’s better for businesses to be involved in the mainstream system,” said Jon Skarin, senior vice president of the Massachusetts Bankers Association. “That said, without a change in federal law — or at very least some kind of guidance from federal law enforcement — it will be very difficult for our members to do this.”
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