Colorado Legislature passes bill to create state-backed co-op bank for pot industry

Lines were once again large outside Denver's Evergreen Apothecary on Jan. 2, 2013, for the second day of legal recreational marijuana sales in Denver. Many had no luck on Jan. 1. (Photo: Twitter / Chris Jose)

DENVER (FOX31/KDVR) — The Colorado Legislature on Wednesday passed and sent the governor a bill to create a state-backed credit co-op to provide banking services to Colorado’s all-cash marijuana industry.

The governor has said he will sign it.

“This bill will make marijuana businesses less likely to become targets for robbers,” said Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont, the bill’s sponsor. “This is the last major piece of the pot puzzle.”

Because the Federal Reserve Bank would still have to approve the creation of a state-backed credit co-op for marijuana businesses, the legislation is viewed as more of an ice-breaker, a way to send a message to Washington, D.C., to come up with a solution for marijuana businesses that are barred by federal law from using banks.