Marijuana banking faces extra scrutiny for businesses

by Jana Weltzin in Marijuana Venture Magazine

Despite growing support for legalization of cannabis, federal law remains stagnant, making banks uneasy about doing business with cannabis companies.

The federal government has yet to enact an authoritative law that explicitly gives banks the blessing to do business with cannabis companies.

However, the U.S. Department of Justice’s guidance memo from August 2013 bluntly states that the federal “Cole Memo” priorities may be “affirmatively addressed … with a tightly regulated market in which revenues are traced and accounted for.”

It would seem, given the federal government’s concession that a tightly regulated and tracked marijuana market would help achieve its priorities, the next logical step would be to change the law in a manner that would give banks the assurance they need to do business with cannabis companies. This would allow cannabis companies to more easily track and account for all money coming in and going out.

In February 2014, the Department of the Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network authored another guidance memorandum clarifying expectations relating to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and cannabis businesses. This memo aimed to clarify how financial institutions may provide services to cannabis related businesses while upholding their obligations under BSA. READ MORE