Cannabis banking. It can be done!
Ever since the State of Washington legalized cannabis for adult use in 2014, Harris Bricken has been advising banks and credit unions on serving cannabis businesses. Today, we advise financial institutions across the United States on a variety of issues related to cannabis banking. Our client roster extends from limited asset credit unions to the U.S. federal government.
Banking is a highly regulated and complex industry, underpinned by compliance. With cannabis, banking has fragmented into two distinct sectors: marijuana and hemp. Marijuana businesses tend to be served by state-chartered credit unions, acting in compliance with dated federal guidance commonly referred to as the “FinCEN Guidelines.” Hemp businesses are also served principally by credit unions (state- and federally-chartered), with banks exploring the space in earnest after adoption of the 2018 Farm Bill.
Our lawyers have a diverse background of corporate and regulatory legal experience, including at law firms specialized in financial services. The cannabis banking work we do includes the following:
- Regulatory advice and counsel on evolving state and federal cannabis laws and policies directly and indirectly related to cannabis business banking. These laws include everything from the Bank Secrecy Act to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act
- Advice on structuring due diligence programs for financial institutions to screen cannabis and ancillary businesses
- Advice and counsel on required federal filings, including Suspicious Activity Reports
- Assistance with FinCEN audits, including site visits
- Opinion work on state law issues
- Monitoring and interpretation of legislative developments that impact cannabis banking
- Advising regulators in creating policies and drafting guidance for banks and credit unions
The next few years will bring rapid changes for banks, credit unions and cannabis customers and members, particularly on the hemp side. Marijuana banking is also set to take off in the event of further federal guidance or implementation of proposed legislation such as the SAFE Act. Let our cannabis banking lawyers help get you there.
For more on cannabis banking, view our blog series here.