Missouri Proposes Cash Ban for Cannabis Company State Payments

Missouri health officials have proposed banning medical cannabis companies from using cash to make state payments, including taxes, fees, and penalties.

Full story after the jump.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has proposed banning the state’s medical cannabis businesses from paying their taxes, fees, and penalties in cash. DHSS spokesperson Lisa Cox told 41 Action News that “large amounts of cash-handling will create challenges for state agencies and may create safety issues for medical marijuana facility employees.”

“As we have done with all of our rules, we have put this out for public comment in order to hear from the public whether they have concerns with this proposal and, if so, what they are. The emergency rule has not been filed, and we will consider all comments we receive before determining whether to file it.” – Cox, to 41 Action News

Specifically, the rule allows medical cannabusinesses to “pay all fees, penalties, or taxes due to Missouri state governmental agencies via any payment method normally acceptable to those agencies other than cash.”

Jack Cardetti, spokesperson for the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association, called it a “cut and dry rule” but said it would be problematic “because access to banking is one of the more difficult things” in the space.

“You can’t pay your taxes and fees despite being a legal business and cash being a legal tender,” he said to 41 Action News

In the report, Joe Leonard, owner of Bee Valley Farms, said he has been unable to find a bank to work with as financial institutions that would take cannabis industry clients “are few and far between” and “most of them have a limit on how many [cannabis] businesses they’ll take on.”

Last month, the state received more than 2,100 medical cannabis operator applications, of which 1,163 were for dispensary operation and 554 were for cultivation licenses. According to 41 Action News, Missouri’s medical cannabis industry is expected to create 4,000 jobs and bring in more than $500 million.

Cox did not offer a timeline on whether a decision on the rule would be made but said the agency would “review all feedback and evaluate further if needed.”

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