PNC shutters marijuana group’s Ohio bank account

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PNC has closed the bank account of another cannabis advocacy group, again underscoring that even non-plant-touching marijuana organizations can be shut out by financial institutions.

One of the nation’s largest financial services companies, Pittsburgh-based PNC recently shut down the account of the Ohio chapter of the National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws (NORML), the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

According to the newspaper, NORML next approached five banks before locating a Wells Fargo branch willing to serve the group.

In June, PNC closed the accounts of the Marijuana Policy Project after an account audit showed that MPP received funding from plant-touching businesses.

The closing of the NORML account prevented the organization’s seven chapters from accessing funds, according to the Enquirer.

In addition, several of the group’s new chapters have struggled to open banking accounts, NORML National Political Director Justin Strekal told the newspaper.

The NORML and MPP account closures may only increase concerns the federal government may try to interfere with state-licensed medical and recreational marijuana programs.

“This is something coming from an understandable concern regarding the Trump administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ open hostility to marijuana,” Strekal told the Enquirer.

Meanwhile, Marijuana Policy Project has found a new banking partner but declined to disclose the institution’s identity.

“We don’t want to bring them any unwanted attention,” MPP spokesman Morgan Fox told Marijuana Business Daily.