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Eugene Daily News
EDN-Staff Contributor

Pushing for Banking Guidelines for Marijuana Businesses

EUGENE, Ore.— Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley are working with other lawmakers to pave the way for marijuana businesses to get access to bank accounts. 

The owners of K-9 Chronic in Springfield, Eric Stevens and Chris Curtiss, said business is booming since they opened six months ago. However, business is bittersweet because they are afraid their success may turn them into targets. 

"None of us feel safe even leaving here because we always think that somebody thinks that we have money," said Stevens. "It would be easy to have a bank. It would be simple."

According to the owners, running a cash-only business is not only inconvenient, but risky. 

"The state puts a requirement that the safe has to be at least 800 pounds or bolted to the ground, so all the product as well as the money has to go in the safe at the end of the night," said Curtiss.

Senator Wyden said he’s working with Senator Merkley and lawmakers in Colorado and Washington where marijuana is also legal. They sent a letter to federal financial regulators Thursday pressing them to provide banks with clear guidelines. 

Marijuana is legal in several states, but many business owners are forced to make business payments with cash because many banks won’t give them access to an account, fearing backlash from the federal government.

"We have got to make it possible for people at these lawful businesses to be able to use banks," said Senator Wyden. 

Stevens and Curtiss said new guidelines would allow them to focus less on accounting and more on their growing business. 

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