By Steve Elliott
Several recently created start-ups are looking to solve one of the most persistent problems facing the nascent marijuana industry in Colorado, Washington and other legal states: the cash-only nature of a business which is still defined as illicit by the federal government.
While voters in Washington and Colorado in 2012, chose to bring marijuana commerce into the mainstream, with Oregon and Alaska joining the club in 2014, the federal government hasn't, shall we say, shown much political courage when it comes to biting the bullet and joining the 21st century.
VISA and MasterCard won't process transactions from marijuana dispensaries, fearing federal racketeering charges since cannabis is still nonsensically considered a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law. And most banks are scared silly by the prospect of "marijuana money" being in their vaults, for the same reason.
This means most medical marijuana dispensaries and recreational pot stores have a constant influx of cash, and the options of what to do with it range from dangerous on the one hand to more dangerous on the other.
Tokken, Hypur, and Kind Financial, among other start-ups, have started putting together software that helps banks and pot shops monitor and record sales, with the eventual goal of moving transactions away from cash, reports Nathaniel Popper at The New York Times.