Senators Urge Feds to Issue Clearer MJ Banking Guidelines

A group of four U.S. Senators are urging federal regulators to come together to issue clearer guidance to financial institutions serving licensed marijuana businesses so they won’t have to operate in cash.

Oregon Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, Washington Sen. Patty Murray, and Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet wrote a letter to the six top federal financial regulators, asking that their agencies collaborate on an effort to improve the Feb. 14, 2014 guidelines issued by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Banking officials have said the guidelines are cumbersome, unclear, and do not offer sufficient protection against federal action.

The letter cited a FinCEN provision requiring banks to file a “suspicious activity report” to regulators whenever they open a marijuana business account. Banks worry that when they file such reports, their supervisory ratings will be downgraded, the letter said.

“Without a joint guidance providing direction on how to operate from their prudential regulators, banks and credit unions will continue to lack the certainty they need to operate in this market,” the letter said.

It added, “With clearer guidance offered by all of their regulators, financial institutions will be more likely to serve these legal businesses and allow them to access our banking system without fearing repercussion.”

2 comments on “Senators Urge Feds to Issue Clearer MJ Banking Guidelines
  1. Susan Tokarz-Krauss on

    Finally! Forward thinking representatives in all states that have legalized Medical Cannabis should join the efforts of the Colorado, Oregon and Washington legislators. Not only should clearer regulations be issued granting banks the ability to serve the needs of their clients, but the Federal government needs to recognize the demands of their members, their constituants, to meet their needs. By the end of this year the majority of states will have approved medical cannabis and the next phase of legalization of recreational will be in full force. Guidance, not obstruction, is needed from the FDA, and the Federal Financial Institution Regulators in conjunction with reclassification of the herb.

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