Banks refuse to work with pot shops because of federal law

Banks refuse to work with pot shops because of federal law »Play Video

VANCOUVER, Wash. -- Some lawmakers in Washington, D.C. are trying to change how you have to pay for pot in the state of Washington, or at least trying to give pot shops a place to keep their money.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday to give guidance and leeway to banks. The amendment in a more broad bill still has to go to the Senate and then to the president.

Banks are too scared right now to work with marijuana stores since it’s still illegal under federal law. Most financial institutions could also be putting their federal insurance at risk.

One Vancouver pot store owner is more understanding of that perspective than the other.

“Next election might change everyone, then political winds change, and the banks are left holding the bag,” New Vansterdam owner Brian Budz said. “I understand where they’re at as well. It’s frustrating though to be on my end.”

At Main Street Marijuana, owner Chris Stipe is still banking on the banks to open their doors.

“I feel our president will pass the bill, and we'll be able to take credit card(s). Why not?” he said.

Meanwhile, both owners say they're fine with taking cash only, but they're sure to promote security measures.

“You come in here, there are security cameras everywhere,” Stipe said.

Budz works with a security company. He’s not as optimistic about the current proposed bill becoming law, but he feels it’s a good first step.

“We’ll continue to work hard to see what kind of agreements we can come up with,” he said, adding that his main focus is keeping inventory high as growers struggle to meet demand. “Without open doors, banks don’t matter."