Florida bank gives notice it’s closing medical marijuana group’s account

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Florida marijuana, Florida bank gives notice it’s closing medical marijuana group’s account

A Florida bank is moving to close the account of a medical cannabis advocacy organization.

SunTrust Bank notified the Tallahassee-based Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida (MBAF) last week that it will close the industry lobbying group’s account on April 18, citing the best interests of its customers and the bank itself, according to Jacksonville TV station WJXT.

New Florida Agriculture Commissioner and marijuana advocate Nikki Fried, whose campaign accounts were closed last year first by Wells Fargo and then BB&T, sharply criticized the decision as a “move in the wrong direction.”

Fried noted in a tweet Tuesday that SunTrust’s decision comes at a time when the state is expanding its medical cannabis and hemp programs.

MBAF Executive Director Jeffrey Sharkey told Marijuana Business Daily the association has been banking with SunTrust since 2014.

The group generates membership fees from MMJ licensees and other businesses for advocacy efforts, legislative policy conference expenses and the like.

“We are still in discussions with SunTrust, and if (the issue) is not resolved, we will secure another bank account either from out of state or in state if we can identify (a bank),” Sharkey wrote by email from a legislative committee hearing on a new hemp bill.

Jeff Smith can be reached at jeffs@mjbizdaily.com