We know our government moves slowly, but we try to support our elected officials who are the ones that get things done. In that vein, it pleases us to see that US Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) is working for the people to find the solution for cannabusinesses to have access to banking.
Access to banking is an assumption that most business owners take for granted. Unfortunately, with the federal government classification of marijuana being equal to heroin, LSD, and peyote, it is a difficult mission to get federally funded banks to offer their services to the marijuana industry.
The US Department of Treasury did give banks permission to allow legal marijuana businesses access to banking services under specific conditions. In 2014, there were only about fifty banks or credit unions were willing to handle legal marijuana money. By the end of 2016, that number grew by six times to just over three hundred, but that is only a very small percentage of the total banks.
With Massachusetts joining the states that have legalized recreational marijuana, Senator Warren was one of ten senators that sent a letter to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. They asked the key federal regulator to issue guidance to assist banks in offering services to the businesses in the newly legalized marijuana industry.
As a member of the Senate Banking Committee, Senator Warren sees the dangers of businesses being forced to work on a cash-only model. Beyond protecting the dispensaries, any business that provides service to the legal marijuana industry also risk issues with their own federal banking services.
Let’s hope our government can move a little more swiftly on this one.