Federal Government to Ease Marijuana Industry Access To Banks

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that federal agencies may soon issue regulations to permit banking services to do business with state-compliant marijuana operators.   The lack of legal access to banking services has caused huge problems for companies operating legally in the industry, forcing them to do business on an all cash basis and “requiring elaborate and expensive security measures and putting them at a high risk of robbery”.

As reported by Reuters, Holder told the audience at the University of Virginia “You don’t want just huge amounts of cash in these places,” and that “They want to be able to use the banking system.  As this article notes, the lack of access to banking services also makes accounting for state sales tax-collection purposes much more difficult.

This represents a sea change in the Federal government’s attitude and regulation of marijuana. Marijuana is still outlawed at the federal level, and banks are barred under money-laundering rules from handling proceeds from marijuana sales even in states where it has been made legal. In August of 2013. however, the administration announced it would give new latitude to states experimenting with taxation and regulation of marijuana.




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