Speed Reads

Pot economics

Colorado approves world's first marijuana credit union

Calling banking services "the end of the line" for Colorado's list of hurdles to legitimizing its marijuana industry, Gov. John Hickenlooper's office cheered Wednesday's state issuance of a pot credit-union charter. The world's first financial institution established specifically with weed in mind, the Fourth Corner Credit Union was approved by Colorado's Division of Financial Services, The Denver Post reports.

The credit union could open as early as Jan. 1, although it must still obtain insurance from the National Credit Union Administration, and there is no guarantee that organization will approve Fourth Corner. Still, the credit union can operate while the NCUA makes its decision, and that process can take up to two years.

Fourth Corner Credit Union will support legal marijuana businesses in Colorado, along with members of nonprofits supporting weed legalization. Still, until the national legal issues are resolved, Fourth Corner will operate precariously, attorney Douglas Friednash, who incorporated the credit union, said.

"We are building a whole new structure to deal with an industry that still violates federal law," he said. "Federal law enforcement and bank regulators can punish the industry, and until that gets resolved, this industry will continue to have a cloud over it."