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Native American Tribes May Become Cannabis Banks

Native American Tribes May Become Cannabis Banks

The blossoming marijuana industry in the United States has seen exponential growth over the past two years a many states began to legalize recreational use of the drug. However, conflicting state and federal laws mean that legal marijuana dispensaries often struggle to find a bank that will accept their business.

As banks are bound by federal laws and could face penalties for dealing with drugs, many are unwilling to engage with cannabis companies. The result has been an excess of cash for marijuana firms, something that they say is increasing their need for security as the risk of robbery has become a real problem.

However, Native American tribes may step in to help as tribal laws permit marijuana businesses on their reservations and their experience in the gaming industry has made many tribes financially savvy.


Southern California's Acjachemen Nation has founded CannaNative, an organization that aims to unite the US' 566 sovereign American Indian nations to create an American Indian banking system. The brain child of Anthony Rivera, such a system would allow cannabis businesses a more secure way to store their cash while bringing in much needed revenue to America's tribes.

A New Way To Bank

Rivera says that years of managing casinos has prepared most tribes for undertaking a marijuana banking venture. He says that the problems marijuana firms are facing closely mirror those that Native Americans overcame back in the 1980's when gaming operations were legalized on tribal grounds. Rivera says that using such a model, tribes can create a legal way for marijuana firms to bank on the reservations.


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