Alaskan cannabis companies can now access basic banking services, thanks to new pilot program launched by the financial cooperative Credit Union 1. In a press conference announcing the launch of the pilot today, Credit Union 1 CEO James Wileman said the program was a response to the cash crisis facing marijuana-related businesses in Alaska.
Alaska legalized adult-use cannabis in 2014 and enacted the law in early 2015. This year, analysts project retail sales will top $200 million. Without banking services, companies have to find a way to store and protect all that cash. But they also have to be able to use it to cover expenses, pay employees and even pay taxes. In several states, community credit unions have stepped in to fill the gap. And now, Credit Union 1 will do the same for cannabis companies in Alaska.
Pilot Program will Offer Alaska’s Cannabis Industry Limited Banking Services
Credit Union 1’s pilot program won’t offer a full suite of financial services to the state’s marijuana businesses. Initially, the bank is only offering the essentials: checking and savings accounts and deposit and withdrawal services. Once clients set up their accounts and funds are flowing, Credit Union 1 hopes to offer