It was payday at local cannabis manufacturer CannaCraft when Santa Rosa police raided in July; at the time, the business was out of compliance with city codes. Police confiscated about $500,000 in cash, divided into stuffed envelopes ready for the company to pay its workers.
On Friday, State Treasurer John Chiang visited CannaCraft’s Circadian Way manufacturing plant on a fact-finding mission, part of an effort to help the state’s now-legal marijuana industry ultimately safeguard that money in banks.
Marijuana is a cash business. With pot still banned by the federal government, cannabis-related companies face roadblocks to basic services like bank accounts, loans and insurance. Employees are paid in cash, placing individuals at risk, too.
Chiang’s visit comes one month after he sent a letter to President-elect Donald Trump asking him help pave the way for the state’s pot business, projected to hit $7 billion in sales this year, to access the federally regulated banking system.
“I’m afraid for you guys when you have so much cash,” Chiang said, speaking with company representatives and eyeing a safe bolted to the ground in an internal room where cash deliveries are kept. “I don’t mean to sound disrespectful, but don’t you need more security?”
They have surveillance cameras, third-party GPS systems, secure rooms, cash handling protocols and another layer of safety measures they won’t discuss out of caution, CannaCraft spokesman Nick Caston said. But it’s never enough.
“It’s our biggest hurdle…
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