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Bankers weigh working with cannabis businesses, despite risks

Legalization Posted Oct 21 2018

State legal medical or recreational cannabis can be found in 31 states in the U.S. as well as Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam, yet a large majority of these businesses run on cash only due to banks' fear of dealing with a federally law. For many major banks it's just not worth being charged with money laundering or any criminal association with selling a Schedule I substance. However there are a growing number of smaller banks who are taking the risk of working with certain cannabis businesses that are not only discreet but are selling products that are available virtually nationwide. CBD products made from cannabis extract are becoming increasingly common in many different businesses, not just ones that sell primarily cannabis. Some banks are even going as far as to consider small business loans and mortgages to the right cannabis business. 

States that allow marijuana sales still run in conflict with federal law, making banks vulnerable to a number of measures. That’s one reason D’Elia, Silverman and Yates would like to see the laws changed to make it easier for banks to enter the market. They said another reason is that banking is a matter of public safety for merchants who now have to handle large amounts of cash.

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