Inside A Nerve-rattling VISIT TO Pay Pot Taxes

40,131.88 in profit the trunk of his hatchback. Kiloh was unarmed, on his way to City Hall to produce a monthly tax payment, and handling only stop-and-start progress in the midday traffic. He was scared of 1 thing most of all: getting robbed. That dread is a continuous part of doing business in California’s flourishing medical cannabis industry, in which transactions are conducted in cash mostly, in stunningly huge amounts sometimes.

On Jan. 1, recreational pot can be legal in California, creating what may be the world’s largest legitimate marijuana economy. It comes more than 2 decades following the state gave its blessing to medical cannabis. 7 billion value has a potentially crippling flaw: Many people who work in it can’t use a bank. Banks don’t want the risks of doing business with companies whose product remains unlawful under Federal law. California is to marijuana what Iowa is to corn, and what Kentucky is to bourbon-the nation’s bud basket, its heartland for creation.

1 billion in new taxes revenue yearly from pot within a few years. 50 million next year only. However, governments will certainly miss out on money without a simple almost, secure way for businesses to pay. With no bank records, it will be harder to regulators to monitor money and identify shady operators. And those who operate by the book will be undercut by those who don’t. Without banking institutions, “everyone loses,” said Nicole Howell Neubert, a marijuana industry attorney. In the absence of a lender, Kiloh is becoming his own.

Twist and change through a Warren of rooms inside his shop, go through a door with a keypad lock, and you shall come to a closet-like space which has twin metal vaults, standing up head-high. The surrounding walls are strengthened with steel. Overhead, more than 50 video cameras to check out his offices and hallways and keep watch outside the building as well.

An armed safeguard stands at the door to the sales floor. For Kiloh, the cash is an everyday hassle. It requires to be counted frequently to guard against loss. State and local taxes must be set and stored aside, sometimes for per month or more. When vendors arrive, they get paid in cash, too.

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4 million last year-crime is a gnawing fear. His dispensary on the bustling commercial strip has been robbed by thieves breaking in through the roofing twice-once. The Los Angeles Police Department didn’t immediately react to a request for statistics on crimes against marijuana dispensaries, and many cases are anyway believed to go unreported, since many businesses are loath to go to the authorities.

Last yr, though, a dispensary owner shot and wounded two armed men throughout a holdup in the Los Angeles suburbs. And a security guard at a dispensary was killed in an attempted robbery in Aurora, Colorado, a different one of the nine expresses to legalize recreational container. To keep bad guys guessing, Kiloh avoids arriving at the same time every day and staggers the times he leaves.