Fed Guidance No Cure-All for Pot Account Ills
When the federal government issued guidance regarding banking regulations for legal marijuana businesses on Feb. 14, the news was initially hailed as a historic moment for pro pot supporters.
But the buzz on the streets changed after closer scrutiny of the new guidance from the U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement network and an accompanying Feb. 14 Department of Justice memo.
In Washington, which legalized medical marijuana in 1998 and is preparing to distribute licenses for recreational stores in March, some institutions, including the $1.3 billion Numerica Credit Union in Spokane Valley, are exploring the complicated issue.
“Our primary concern is about community safety in regard to businesses operating with a large amount of cash on a daily basis, so Numerica is evaluating how to best serve members who have a marijuana business,” said Kelli Hawkins, communications manager for the 100,000-member institution.
Another complication for depository institutions is that regulations for legal marijuana businesses vary widely by state.
For example, experts say, Washington’s medical marijuana system does not meet the eight federal priorities defined by the DOJ.