Kurt Britz cleans jars that will hold recreational marijuana at 3D Cannabis Center in Denver, December 30 2013. The shop is getting ready for the first of the year, when they are allowed to sale recreational marijuana. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)

Denver asks that pot businesses have access to federal banking system

The Denver City Council asked that Colorado’s hundreds of marijuana businesses be granted access to federal banking institutions now that the substance is legal for commerce.

In its first meeting of the new year, council voted unanimously on the proclamation Monday night.

The request comes five days after marijuana became legal for recreational use in the state.

Though states like Colorado — and shortly Washington — have allowed legal marijuana use for adults, the substance remains illegal under federal law, meaning banks are reluctant to offer services.

For the most part, marijuana shops in Colorado deal in cash only, which raises multiple safety and legal concerns, council members agreed.

“If it’s here, its regulation should be safe, responsible and effective,” said Councilman Chris Nevitt. “The piece that’s missing is banking.”

Councilman Charlie Brown called the lack of bank options for the industry “absurd” and ” ridiculous,” claiming that no business can sufficiently operate on a cash-only basis.

“Please, Washington (D.C.), grow up and let this business be a business and have a normal banking relationship like any other business,” Brown said.

Ryan Parker: 303-954-2409, rparker@denverpost.com or twitter.com/ryanparkerdp

This story was first published on DenverPost.com