Marijuana banking confusion snags WA hemp clothing company

A Washington state clothing company has lost its bank account – even though it doesn’t work with marijuana – because of the use of hemp in its products.

Owners of the natural-clothing company Rawganique in Blaine say they were shocked when Umpqua Bank – which is headquartered in Portland, Oregon – informed them it would no longer work with the company because it’s in a “marijuana-related industry.”

According to The Northern Light newspaper, Rawganique does not grow hemp nor manufacture hemp products. Instead, Rawganique makes hemp products using imported hemp, including clothing, hempseed oil, hempseed butter, hemp protein powder and rope.

A spokeswoman for the bank told the newspaper that the bank won’t serve clients growing hemp.

“We are federally insured, so we are bound legally to comply with federal law,” said Eve Callahan, a spokesperson for Umpqua Bank. “We are prevented from banking with companies that grow cannabis. Hemp is the result of growing cannabis.”

Told that Rawganique’s hemp is imported, Callahan said, “If the hemp is manufactured out of the country somewhere, that’s fine, we can continue to bank with them as a customer.”

But Rawganique’s owners say the experience has been extremely frustrating, even if the bank changes course.

“It’s extremely disruptive. Livelihoods are at stake,” Rawganique CEO Qeanu Wallner said.

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