Posts in Orlando Sentinel
Techies put their fortunes out to grass

Ben Larson, founder of Gateway Incubator, one of the first marijuana-focused investment firms, reckons California could become the model that other states and countries follow. “The world is watching,” he said. “This is one of the largest economies in the world. We could set the benchmark for how different jurisdictions treat the cannabis industry.”

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Orlando-based First Green Bank halts marijuana business

Federal laws still classify marijuana as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, and local banks around the country have pulled out of the marijuana business if they are in acquisition talks with a larger bank, said Ben Larson, who runs Gateway Incubator in California for marijuana startups. Larger national banks that are regulated by the FDIC must comply with federal regulations.

“Yeah, banking is probably the single largest problem in the industry right now,” Larson said. “Banking deposits being cut off happens a lot. I hear about it all the time.”

He said there are workarounds, such as making deposits with a local credit union. But uncertainty has grown since the appointment of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who sought funds to prosecute medical marijuana cases.

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Orlando SentinelBen Larson