We’ve written on numerous occasions about the lack of banking services available to marijuana businesses (see here and here), and the many problems that causes. When FinCEN released new guidelines for banks in February, industry watchers hoped that federally-backed banking institutions would begin opening their doors to state legal canna businesses. Many (including ourselves) touted the
Washington’s medical marijuana reform bill, SB 5887, died in the legislature this past week. This bill would have led to a major overhaul for Washington’s medical marijuana industry as it mandated that MMJ patients could secure their meds only from I-502 compliant stores (the stores allowed under Washington’s new recreational marijuana laws). We were not surprised
After months of speculation, the Department of Justice and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) two weeks ago released new guidelines to banks and financial institutions on their relationship with state-legal cannabis businesses. As we discussed in our post, Feds Green Light Marijuana Banking, these new guidelines seem to give banks the green [pun intended] light to conduct banking business with marijuana business customers, subject to fairly stringent requirements that the bank monitor and report on those activities.
The Department of Treasury today issued guidance for financial institutions that want to do business with the marijuana industry.
The primary force keeping banks away from the marijuana industry has always been regulations issued by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) dealing with money laundering. The Bank Secrecy Act that FinCEN enforces requires banks to investigate their customers and to neither negligently or knowingly do business with bad actors. State-legal marijuana businesses have always fallen into the category of bad actors for the banks, so they avoided potential fines by refusing to provide banking services to marijuana businesses.
Today's regulations, however, clarify that banks can provide services to marijuana businesses without running afoul of federal regulations, so long as they abide by the following:
Nothing much really new in this Fox News article, Colorado's pot tax revenues could go up in smoke, says lawmaker, but it does a really nice job in laying out the banking issues legal cannabis businesses are facing. The article explains why the lack of banking for marijuana businesses is causing problems for both the businesses themselves and the states that would like to collect taxes on marijuana revenues. It also provides a concise update on where the federal government (as relayed by Eric Holder) stands on all this.
Bank of America (BOA) recently stated that it has no issue with accepting I-502 money from the State of Washington. BOA seems confident that it won’t be violating any federal banking laws by handling the State’s pot dollars. Washington State Treasurer, Jim McIntire, said that he is “not too worried about it [the Federal Government],” and that “[i]t’s