A key Senate Appropriations Committee passed a bill on July 23 that allows the nation’s capitol to establish regulated medical marijuana stores and lets banks provide financial services to state legalized marijuana dispensaries. With a potential Federal blessing on medical marijuana financing in the works, it is a hopeful step closer to putting big financial institutions’ money laundering fears to rest, thus making it easier for them to do business with legitimate marijuana businesses if they choose.
But that’s the big question. Despite two edicts issued early in 2014 from the Obama administration to the Treasury Department and the Justice Department, both designed to reassure banks about doing business with marijuana companies, many big banks still show a reluctance to jump on the opportunity. And even if it becomes legal on the federal level to work with legal marijuana businesses, they may still remain aloof, according to Tim Strobel, head of media development at Cashinbis, in his recent article “Senate Committee Pushes Cannabis Banking Forward.”
The article is a question and answer session with Lance Ott, CPP/Principal of Guardian Data Systems, a company that helps smooth the way for transactions and relationships between cannabis companies and local banks and credit unions. Ott says one of the biggest paradoxes with banking institutions right now in regard to cannabis is that while some big banks indirectly have a hand in the industry, like collecting cannabis tax revenue for states, they still refuse to work directly with cannabis businesses.
“What this means is that most banks are extremely conservative when it comes to dealing with the cannabis industry,” said Lance Ott, CPP/Principal of Guardian Data Systems, in Strobel’s article. “Unless the entirety of the plant and process is 100 percent federally legalized, don’t hold your breath waiting for them break out of that mold.”
So with a bill yet to be passed and fully legalized cannabis on the federal level a ways off, for now, it looks like cash-only transactions and small business banking may be the best the cannabis industry can hope for at the moment.
Read the full interview of Lance Ott by Tim Strobel at “Senate Committee Pushes Cannabis Banking Forward,” or visit at Cashinbis.com.