Oklahoma banking officials warn banks about serving medical marijuana firms

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Oklahoma banking officials are urging financial institutions to be cautious or even stay clear of the state’s nascent medical marijuana industry, dealing a potential setback to MMJ companies hoping to secure accounts with local banks or credit unions.

Oklahoma banking commissioner Mick Thompson told a legislative working group that financial institutions must weigh the dangers of serving the marijuana industry until Congress legalizes MJ or permits states to regulate it, the Oklahoman reported.

He cited Colorado where only a fraction of banks serve the long-established MMJ industry.

Nate Webb, president of the Oklahoma Credit Union Association, was even more blunt: “Until federal guidelines are changed, our guidance is steer clear.”

Oklahoma Bankers Association CEO Roger Beverage said only about 400 of the 6,000-plus federally insured banks in the U.S. offer services to marijuana-related enterprises. Beverage did say he knew of at least one Oklahoma bank that was aggressively offering services to dispensary owners.