FEB. 14, 2014 - NEW GUIDELINES ALLOW BANKS TO PROVIDE FINANCIAL SERVICES TO LEGAL MARIJUANA SELLERS
“The Obama administration on Friday [Feb. 14, 2014] gave banks a road map for conducting transactions with legal marijuana sellers so these new businesses can stash away savings, make payroll and pay taxes like any other enterprise…
Marijuana businesses that can’t use banks may have too much cash they can’t safely put away, leaving them vulnerable to criminals. And governments that allow marijuana sales want a channel to receive taxes…
Currently, processing money from marijuana sales puts federally insured banks at risk of drug racketeering charges, so they’ve refused to open accounts for marijuana-related businesses.
Friday’s move was designed to let financial institutions serve such businesses while ensuring that they know their customers’ legitimacy and remain obligated to report possible criminal activity, said the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN.
But in response, the American Bankers Association said ‘guidance or regulation doesn’t alter the underlying challenge for banks. As it stands, possession or distribution of marijuana violates federal law, and banks that provide support for those activities face the risk of prosecution and assorted sanctions.’…
The guidance provided the banks with more than 20 ‘red flags’ that may indicate a violation of federal law. Among them: if a business receives substantially more revenue than its local competitors, deposits more cash than is in line with the amount of marijuana-related revenue it is reporting for federal and state tax purposes, or experiences a surge in activity by third parties offering goods or services such as equipment suppliers or shipping services.”
Pete Yost “Feds Let Banks and Marijuana Sellers Do Business,” bigstory.ap.org, Feb. 14, 2014
“BSA Expectations Regarding Marijuana-Related Businesses” , Department of the Treasury, Feb. 14, 2014