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Effort To Allow Marijuana Dispensaries To Use Banks Resurfaces

DENVER (CBS4) - Next week, a congressional hearing on access to banking for cannabis related services is expected. Those hearings could be the first step to changes in federal marijuana laws.

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Bruce Nassau is a partner in Lit Dispensary and says for them, the biggest issue is safety. With no access to banking, they're forced to keep large amounts of cash on hand.

"Bad guys like two things; they like the cash, and they like cannabis," he told CBS4's Dominic Garcia.

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He talked about an incident that happened at one of his dispensaries on a random Sunday morning. An armed robber walked in.

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CBS4's Dominic Garcia interviews Bruce Nassau. (credit: CBS)

"They stuck a gun down the guys throat, came in, made everyone lie down on the floor. They walked away with over $20,000 in cash and five pounds of cannabis product," said Nassau.

For years marijuana-related legislation has been blocked, but a new democratic-controlled House of Representatives could change that. Owners like Nassau say access to banking would also help on the business end when it comes to paying for things.

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"Traditionally you'd write a check for utilities, taxes and employees. Instead of writing them a paycheck you have to give them cash," he told CBS4.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter, a Democrat who represents Colorado's 7th Congressional District, is backing marijuana banking legislation that will be introduced at the end of February.

Nassau thinks this time it has a chance to pass.

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"Every election cycle more and more states are adopting medical, or in some instances recreational. I would say to you in the course of the next five years I would suspect cannabis will be legalized throughout the United States."

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