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Congressman Denny Heck

Representing the 10th District of Washington

Congressman: ‘Cash only' for pot has to change

Aug 9, 2016
In The News

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On a good day, Tacoma's Clear Choice Cannabis in Tacoma will sell marijuana to 2,000 customers.

While Chief Operating Officer Kristina Green said that’s great for business, the fact customers can only pay in cash is concerning.

“It’s scary,” said Green.

Clear Choice employees make several cash deposits during a day at a credit union, but like most pot shops in the state, they don’t take checks, debit or credit cards.

Their credit union won’t allow it. Neither will banks.

Banks, especially ones with branches nationwide, have refused to back an industry that might be considered uncertain or risky, and for some, immoral.

Despite the law in states like Washington and Colorado, federal law still prohibits the use of marijuana.

Rep. Denny Heck (D-Olympia) said banks could be protected with a piece of legislation he has proposed the last three years.

“It’s very short, very simple, very straightforward,” said Heck. “Which basically says banks and credit unions can do this with no legal liability as long as they are following the guidelines.”

Heck said his past attempts had support from Democrats and Republicans, but congressional leaders have not backed his legislation.

He’s trying again because he believes reducing cash at the stores reduces the risk of robberies.

“At the end of the day this is a public safety issue,” said Heck.