ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — As of July, cannabis is legal to grow, possess and use recreationally in New Mexico.
However, the drug is still illegal at the federal level, which means that getting access to bank accounts, loans and other financial resources remains a hurdle for the growers and manufacturers expected to fuel the state’s new recreational market.
While a few New Mexico banks and credit unions have dipped a toe into the industry, many have opted to steer clear until federal reform comes, leaving cannabis dispensaries, manufacturing operations and other businesses operating in the industry with limited options.
“When you start a business, the very first thing you do (is) file your incorporation papers and you open a bank account,” said Ben Lewinger, executive director of the New Mexico Cannabis Chamber of Commerce. “It’s so fundamental to everything that a business needs to be able to do.”
Lewinger said the limited access keeps growers without other sources of startup capital out of the recreational and medical industries, and makes life harder for those already operating.
Those banks and credit unions that have ventured into working with cannabis companies are reaping the benefits of capitalizing on a sector that many of their peers won’t touch, but they acknowledged that it takes a lot of time, money and work to do it safely and securely. [Read More @ The Albuquerque Journal]
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