California Board of Equalization Calls for Cannabis Banking Services

In an opinion piece on the Huffington Post, California Board of Equalization (BOE) member Fiona Ma called for California to establish its first marijuana bank.

Currently, the state collects some $44 million in taxes from the marijuana industry each year, and does so largely in cash.

“California should look into a state-chartered depository institution to provide, at the minimum, basic merchant services to allow businesses to pay their taxes and payroll via check or electronic funds transfer,” writes Ma.

MA, a CPA and Assembly Speaker pro Tempore Emeritus, represents nearly 10 million people in 23 counties. The BOE is a tax agency representing all California taxpayers, and is the only elected tax agency in the country.

Assemblymember Jim Wood has proposed a bill (AB 1549) that would create a California Cannabis Credit Union. The bill will be presented early next year in committee.

“Right now, one of the largest industries in California — and the tens of thousands of citizens who work in it — is being restrained from fully integrating into our financial and tax systems. This is a lose-lose proposition for our state,” writes Ma.

“Colorado’s growing pains can provide some useful lessons for California, and we need to pay attention to those lessons so that we are prepared for the changes that might be coming next year, and more importantly, to get those changes right the first time.”


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