The Greenhouse of Walled Lake was Oakland County’s first fully licensed medical and recreational marijuana dispensary. That’s impressive enough on its own.
They’re also experts in ensuring that customers and patients receive the utmost guidance when it comes to selecting the right products.
That’s why thousands of people come through their doors in any given week. But these days, some of those folks have taken to using counterfeit cash for cannabis.
Bills Coming From Skilled Counterfeiters
For the last several months, the Greenhouse has been flooded with counterfeit $20 bills. At least half of these bills pass the brown pen test where they’re resistant to the brown ink that exposes them as counterfeit.
But it’s not just $20 bills.
“They’re making $5, $20, $100 bills,” Greenhouse owner Jerry Millen says. And in some cases, they’re realistic enough to make it past the cash machines which have settings to find fakes.
And it’s become such a problem that Millen has taken to posting notes on the counters and walls reminding employees to be especially vigilant.
What’s the Deal with Counterfeit Cash for Cannabis?
There’s no doubt that the Greenhouse is a destination for these counterfeit bills. “Absolutely, we’re being targeted,” says Millen.
But it’s becoming a more common problem for dispensaries all across the problem. Because while recreational pot is legal in Michigan, it’s still federally illegal. That means that cannabis businesses are prohibited from using banks and are cash-only enterprises.
It was only a matter of time before counterfeiters figured out how they could take advantage of this lucrative industry. And it IS lucrative. Yet even for a business that generates millions of dollars, these losses add up.
Will Congress Ever Pass Legislation?
Ultimately, until cannabis is removed from the Schedule 1 list of drugs and becomes legal on the federal level, banks will not be permitted to work with cannabis businesses.
There has been some progress. The SAFE Banking Act was introduced to Congress back in April. If it passes it would protect federal banks from penalties or punishment when dealing with legal dispensaries. For now, it has stalled out.
For a short while, debit cards were a loophole for large credit unions. But Mastercard shut that down last month in regards to buying marijuana. So yeah, it’s a slow journey.
Time will tell.
Are You a Cannabis Business Owner?
If you run a weed business, you can now add looking out for counterfeit cash for cannabis to your long list of to-dos.
One thing you don’t need to have on that list is struggling with cannabis public relations.
Contact us today to speak with highly experienced cannabis marketing and public relations experts. And get back to running your business.