The New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) is urging state-chartered banks and credit unions to work with fully compliant medical marijuana business.
Earlier this month, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a lengthy 10-page statement asking the DFS to help support safe banking services for marijuana businesses, stating, “Because marijuana currently is still listed on Schedule I under the Federal Controlled Substances Act, medical marijuana and industrial hemp-related businesses operating in accordance with New York State laws and regulations continue to have difficulty establishing banking relationships at regulated financial institutions.”
The ability to establish a banking relationship is an urgent issue today for the legal cannabis industry. So long as it remains difficult to open and maintain bank accounts, the industry will largely rely on cash to conduct business and operate.
The cash-intensive industry creates risks for companies and investors alike. But will banks actually follow this advice?
It certainly helps that it comes from a lofty institution like DFS, but ever since Jeff Sessions became the U.S. Attorney General and rescinded the Cole Memo, things may not be that easy. BUT…according to Green Rush Daily:
DFS says that Sessions’ rescinding the policy of Obama’s Justice Department did not affect a lesser-known provision called the “Fincen guidance.” The Fincen guidance is a memo from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. And it aims to assist financial institutions in providing services to cannabis-related businesses.
“In issuing the guidance, Fincen sought to enhance the availability of financial services for, and the financial transparency of, legal marijuana-related businesses,” the memo states.
Furthermore, DFS says that a bi-partisan coalition of legislators is supporting the Fincen guidance, helping to keep it in effect.
The Treasury Department has stated that it’s reviewing the Fincen guidance along with the feds.