(Rebecca Blackwell, Associated Press file)

Hickenlooper will approve cannabis co-op bill, but “it’s not a final solution”

Gov. John Hickenlooper on Thursday said he is likely to sign a bill that creates the world’s first cannabis co-op — a marijuana business banking cooperative. Even if “there’s only a one-in-three” chance of overcoming federal hurdles to giving the legal marijuana industry access to banking, he said, “it would be worth all the effort and time” to have tried.

NPR audio: Might this credit union-styled cannabis co-op actually work? Listen to journalist David Migoya talk on NPR national.

House Bill 1398 establishes the credit-union-like co-op — up to 10 are authorized — but first requires approval by the Federal Reserve System. “It’s not a final solution,” he said, “but it gives us a greater chance that we may be able to do something.”

The bill also allows industrial-hemp farmers to join the co-ops, a move that caused banking lobbies to say they’ll probably press for a veto. “The array of veto requests,” Hickenlooper said, “is almost like stars in the sky.”

This story was first published on DenverPost.com