The state of Missouri is reportedly considering a ban on cash tax payments, a move that has raised concerns for local legal marijuana businesses that are struggling to obtain banking services and relying on cash to remain in operation.
Recent Associated Press reports said the state’s Department of Health and Senior Services has released a proposal that would ban businesses from paying their taxes, fines and fees in cash. The measure would add pressure to businesses in the marijuana industry, some of which told reporters that the health department’s proposal could put them out of business.
According to the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association, the state does have several banks that service cannabis companies, but a spokesperson warned that “those options are not plentiful.”
The health department is currently accepting feedback on the proposal, which has led to a backlash from industry business owners.
“I don’t know how you can tell people to abide by the law, but then say cash is no good,” said Mitch Meyers, CEO of the cannabis company BeLeaf, in an interview with the AP.
The measure highlights the ongoing challenge legal cannabis businesses face across the nation, as more states legalize marijuana but federal law prohibits many banks from servicing them. Missouri voted last year to legalized medical marijuana, forcing companies to operate on a cash-only basis as they struggle to access banking services. That dependence on cash can create security and administrative challenges for the businesses and government entities accepting tax and fee payments.
On a national level, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill that aims to provide legal marijuana businesses with access to banks, reports noted, though the legislation remains pending in the Senate.
The Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association has reportedly asked the health department to make an exception to the cash ban for businesses operating without a bank account until federal law can open up the doors for banking services for the industry.