Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

The Biggest Problem for Legal Marijuana

By John Maxfield – Mar 8, 2014 at 5:14AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

The legal marijuana movement is gaining speed, but one big hurdle still remains.

There's a good chance that states across the country will soon begin legalizing the sale and possession of marijuana for recreational purposes. As Colorado has shown, the potential tax revenue is too significant to ignore.

But this won't solve the marijuana industry's biggest problem. Regardless of how many states legalize the drug, it remains illegal under federal law. As a result, banks are prohibited from providing financial services to the industry. Most importantly, this encompasses deposits and other cash management services. The net result is an industry awash with cash and participants forced to operate as quasi-illegitimate enterprises.

Although the federal government has recently tried to remedy the problem, its solution is only temporary and not enough to solve the issue. As Motley Fool contributor John Maxfield discusses in the following video, this leaves cannabis growers and sellers with few options. And perhaps even more significantly, it leaves banks in an uncomfortable gray zone that's fraught with the risk of criminal prosecution.

We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.