Illinois state treasurer asks Trump for clarity on MMJ banking

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Illinois’ state treasurer has joined California’s in requesting guidance from the new administration of President Donald Trump on banking regulations regarding its medical marijuana industry.

The California treasurer in December sent a letter to Trump noting that the refusal by many banks to work with state-legal cannabis companies could pose a serious threat to public safety in coming years, as well as create issues related to tax collection.

Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs has voiced similar concerns, the Associated Press reported Monday.

Frerichs wrote a letter of his own to Trump and, in a press release, said the president’s as-yet-unspecified cannabis policy “will be crucial to the continuing availability of medical marijuana in Illinois,” according to the AP.

Frerichs advocated for a federal policy that would ensure that “responsible financial institutions” would not face any legal backlash for working with state-licensed marijuana companies, the AP reported.

If the Trump administration were to take such a step, it could go a long way toward convincing banks to offer more financial services to cannabis businesses, whether that’s simply opening checking accounts or even loaning sizable amounts of capital to expansion-minded MJ companies.