Feds To Issue Banking Guidelines For Businesses Engaged In Cannabis Commerce

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director January 24, 2014

    Federal officials are poised to unveil new regulations allowing for financial institutions to legally interact with licensed businesses that are engaged in cannabis commerce.

    United States Attorney General Eric Holder announced the forthcoming guidelines yesterday in a speech at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center.

    “You don’t want just huge amounts of cash in these place. They (retail facilities that dispense cannabis) want to be able to use the banking system,” Holder said. “And so we (the Obama administration) will be issuing some regulations I think very soon to deal with that issue.”

    Presently, federal law discourages financial institutions from accepting deposits or providing banking services for facilities that engage in cannabis-related commerce because the plant remains illegal under the US Controlled Substances Act. While the Obama administration is unlikely to amend cannabis’ illegal status under federal law, the forthcoming rules are anticipated to provide clear guidelines for banks that wish to provide support for state-licensed cannabis facilities.

    In Colorado, where retail stores began legally selling cannabis on January 1 to anyone age 21 and older, businesses were estimated to have engaged in over $5 million in marijuana sales in their first week of business.

    30 responses to “Feds To Issue Banking Guidelines For Businesses Engaged In Cannabis Commerce”

    1. scott says:

      so college students and housewives can get high, and banks can get rich. what about the working people who will get fired for testing positive for marijuana.

    2. HR says:

      There is no need for more confusing regulations ; simply re-schedule marijuana into the same class as tobacco and alcohol…. problem solved

    3. Julian says:

      Bout time. All that dirty money banks have been laundering all these years gotta cost more money to hide than paying lawyers to navigate a DOJ endorsed legal marijuana industry. DEA agents defecting for marijuana stock options in Marijuana Investment Firms oughtta help tip the odds stacked in our favor.
      There sure is a lot of big marijuana talk going around. Rick Perry was in Switzerland yesterday acting like he opened the doors for decriminalization in Texas. Is that the Republican agenda? Talk pro marijuana and donate a little to pro-mj think tanks then turn around and veto everything? Is that why 90,000 Texans are still arrested for small posessions every year?
      Meanwhile the Texas Democratic party endorsed decriminalization last summer and the Wendy Davis campaign already has outfunded the GOP race for Greg Abbot. Now that’s what I call “grass” roots organization.
      Actions speak louder than words, Governor Perry. The whole world is watching.

    4. gene says:

      This is a step in the right direction, No one is safe from losing there job until it is legal across the board. Let’s all support NORML for there outstanding performance.

    5. Just legalize it for Goodness sake.

    6. Galileo Galilei says:

      Let’s hope these guidelines prove workable and not an impediment to the nascent businesses.

      Last weekend I saw on CSPAN a hearing chaired by none other than Congress persons Feinstein and Grassman. It was the same old crap we’ve been seeing for decades, with erstwhile assurances from all involved that the country would regret reform in the future.

      One DEA guy said some Meth syndicate was even using a weed shop to launder money. Of course, they didn’t see this as an indication some guidelines were needed. All they saw was the need to spend more money to keep themselves employed in a never ending war on their fellow Americans and make the cartels even richer and more powerful than the drug was has made them already.

    7. AZTECA says:

      Lets analyze our position, the government found a way to allow the legalization of Marijuana in Colorado and Washington and now they see the $$$$ and want their share because cash is hard to trace and tax. Remember “NO TAXATION WITH OUT REPRESENTATION”

    8. TheOracle says:

      This is great news!

      I’m hoping I don’t regret having prematurely thanked you, Mr. President, Mr. Holder.

      Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

      As someone who has been battling cancer, I want cures for all kinds of cancer and I don’t want cannabis written off in Schedule I as not having any medical benefit. Extensive research should have been done before it was scheduled, and after the Shafer Commission’s report would have been the time to engage in researching it. Does it hold or lead the way to cures? It certainly is better to relax than using alcohol, especially if the kind of cancer you had has left the person with bladder or incontinence issues. This will pave the way to reducing the number of poor people, people of color if you will, getting put unnecessarily through the sausage grinder criminal justice system.

      Thank you, Barry. I’m glad I voted for you, twice.

    9. TheOracle says:

      I’m hoping that the guidelines will include keeping the IRS from going after the cannabis community simply because it can. When I stated calling off the federal dawgz, I meant just that.

      I hope Pennsylvania gets its act together and legalizes cannabis so that my quality of life and the possibility of cures are closer to me. If the feds are staying out of it then more states should legalize, more states in the news than already as planning to legalize. It’s the right thing to do.

    10. WarOnHugs says:

      “The rules are not expected to give banks a green light to accept deposits and provide other services, but would tell prosecutors not to prioritize cases involving legal marijuana businesses that use banks.”

      I’m hope for the business owners that’s enough for the banks to be interested in dealing with them.