New bill introduced to get banks to work with Arizona marijuana businesses

If customers were to use credit/debit cards, it could free up some employees to focus on other things.
Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 8:30 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) Sen. Krysten Sinema introduced the SAFER Banking Act this week. The Independent senator from Arizona is a cosponsor of the bill, which would ensure legal cannabis businesses have access to banking services. “I promised Arizonans I’d work with anyone to deliver real, lasting results for our state, and today’s bipartisan introduction represents a promising step forward in our work to make our communities safer and expand economic opportunities for all Arizonans,” Sinema said. “By bringing lawmakers from both sides of the aisle together, we bridged differences, focused on our shared goals, and demonstrated we can find a path to move this bill forward.”

All dispensaries in Arizona do not accept credit or debit cards right now, and cash is king. Customers have to pay with money or cash apps. This can be inconvenient for customers who must stop at the ATM before buying anything inside a dispensary. “Is it difficult for the customer, for sure,” Giving Tree CEO and Founder Lilach Mazor Power said. “It’s much easier to come in with your credit card. I think we all got used to using credit cards and not carrying cash.”

Power said allowing people to use credit or debit cards could protect customers more than cash. She said it also takes more “manpower” to count and track all the cash that comes through. If they were to use cards, it could free up some employees to focus on other things. “I think it is easier to run a business when you take credit cards. I think clearly for the business it’s better.”

Working with a bank would also help her expand her business. She said they get more new customers every week and want to grow at some point. She says having a bank helps with the capital needed to take the next step. She doesn’t think federal law should prevent her from banking when it’s legal to have a cannabis business in Arizona. “Should we have the same rights as any other business? Yes, I think so. This is legal in our state. We are paying taxes. We employ a lot of people.”

We’re also being told this has impacted employees and their personal banking as well. Paychecks for some workers were denied by banks and were not deposited into their accounts. They had to take their money out and start using a credit union or an Arizona bank that would allow a dispensary paycheck to be deposited into an employee’s account.

The bill was introduced on Wednesday. We will let you know where the bill ends up.

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