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Missouri Health Department Wants to Ban Cash Payments from Medical Marijuana Businesses

November 14, 2019

Cannabis regulators in Missouri have seen an overwhelming number of medical marijuana businesses applying for a license since they opened the online application portal in late June. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has growing concerns about how these businesses will pay their taxes and recently drafted a regulation amendment that would ban cannabis dispensaries from making cash payments.

Cash Payment Safety Risk

Health Department officials are worried that medical marijuana businesses will be transporting large sums of cash that put them at risk of armed robbery, However their main concern is processing cash payments for taxes, fees, and any associated penalties. 

DHSS spokesperson Lisa Cox explained that, “large amounts of cash-handling will create challenges for state agencies and may create safety issues for medical marijuana facility employees.” 

Public Comment on New Rule

The amendment has not officially been filed by the DHSS, and they have submitted the draft proposal for public comment. Cox went on to say, “As we have done with all of our rules, we have put this out for public comment in order to hear from the public whether they have concerns with this proposal and, if so, what they are. The emergency rule has not been filed, and we will consider all comments we receive before determining whether to file it.”

Most Missouri medical marijuana businesses agree that paying with large sums of cash is problematic from a safety standpoint. However, cannabis retailers are bound by federal restrictions that prevent them from accessing financial services from FDIC insured banks. 

Accessing Financial Services

Spokesperson for the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association Jack Cardetti said he views the proposed amendment as problematic “because access to banking is one of the more difficult things” in the cannabis industry. “You can’t pay your taxes and fees despite being a legal business and cash being a legal tender,” Cardetti added.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services hasn’t determined whether or not they will move forward with this new rule and is reviewing all of the public feedback and comments. Spokeswoman Cox noted that they are willing to “evaluate further if needed.” If Missouri cannabis regulators are able to find financial institutions that are willing to service medical marijuana businesses, this new rule becomes much more feasible.