Banks Shy Away From Oregon’s Legal Marijuana Businesses – – Dec. 26, 2015

Securing something as simple as a checking account can be nearly impossible for cannabis business owners, the Statesman Journal newspaperreported. There are some exceptions, including Maps Credit Union, but even this financial institution takes precautions when it comes to marijuana business. The credit union doesnt advertise the accounts, for example, and businesses with accounts are asked to sign a non-disclosureagreement. Other banks are wary of assurances from federal agencies that if they serve cannabis businesses they wont face money-launderingcharges. According to marijuana business owners, some banks have told them that serving their businesses could lead to the banks losing their FDIC insurance. However, a 2014 directive from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a division of the U.S. Treasury, provides some clarity on theissue. Banks can serve those businesses, as long as they follow strict anti-money-launderingprocedures. Nevertheless, pot business owners across Oregon have opened accounts only to have them quietly closed when the bank discovered the nature of their enterprise. Most are stuck conducting transactions in cash, including vendor payments andpayroll. By compelling Oregon business owners to operate on a cash-only basis, current federal laws are making marijuana businesses sitting ducks for violent crimes and perpetuating negative stereotypes.

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