High Country Healing in Silverthorne opened its doors on Jan. 1, 2014 for sales of recreational marijuana. As recreational marijuana businesses struggle to find banking services for a multimillion-dollar industry — just as banks struggle with federal laws that essentially prohibit them from offering those services — the state is able to do what the industry cannot. (Kathryn Scott Osler, The Denver Post file)

Marijuana banking on horizon? Obama administration weighing options

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder says the Obama administration is planning to roll out regulations soon that would allow banks to do business with legal marijuana sellers.

During an appearance Thursday at the University of Virginia, Holder said it is important from a law enforcement perspective to enable places that sell marijuana to have access to the banking system so they don’t have large amounts of cash lying around.

Currently, processing money from marijuana sales puts federally insured banks at risk of drug racketeering charges.

Because of the threat of criminal prosecution, financial institutions often refuse to let marijuana-related businesses open accounts.

The issue has taken on some urgency now that Colorado and Washington have become the first states to legalize recreational use of marijuana.

This story was first published on DenverPost.com