Report: Marijuana banking protections intact – for now

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Financial institutions that serve marijuana businesses still have federal protections – at least for now – outlined in a February 2014 memo from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), Reuters reported.

The report comes after Attorney General Jeff Sessions last week revoked certain Obama-era protections for the legal marijuana industry.

FinCEN is a U.S. Treasury Department agency. The Obama-era FinCEN memo effectively gives banks permission to serve marijuana clients, provided they can prove those marijuana clients are in compliance with state laws.

The FinCEN memo was drafted in parallel to the Cole Memo, which gave marijuana businesses some protection from federal interference. Sessions rescinded the Cole Memo on Jan. 4.

Sessions’ decision fanned fears in the cannabis industry that even fewer banks would be willing to serve MJ businesses.

But a FinCEN spokesman, Stephen Hudak, told Reuters the agency’s policy “remains in place.”

About 400 banks out of more than 13,000 currently serve marijuana businesses, according to a recent FinCEN report. That’s up from 301 banks and credit unions two years ago.