What are we going to do? I recently had my bank account closed by CHASE because of the “type” of business I own. When I had originally spoken with the bank representative I explained what I was doing. I explained very clearly and emphasized that I would have NO direct contact with marijuana. I was told that was fine and there were no problems with my business. Then, 2 months later I received the letter stating that “After a recent review of your account, we have decided to end our relationship with you.” I tried to explain to them again that I had no direct contact with marijuana! I am only counseling, educating, and consulting patients and businesses regarding medical marijuana. I asked if this meant they would not do business with companies like Miracle Grow (and other large companies) that are now getting into the very lucrative cannabis industry? And what about all of the other ancillary products that will be sold such as light bulbs, packaging materials, computer software, and security companies just to name a few. Are they going to do business with them? The response I got was just a look of uhhhhhhhh...?? And a shrug of the shoulders followed by “I’m sorry. This was not my decision. I am on your side here.” I explained how terrible this is for small businesses! Especially in a state like CT where our BIG businesses (i.e. GE) are running out of the state faster than the weather changes in New England!
I recently read an article and will share the important part here…
Will mounting political support for legal marijuana usher in banking solutions?
Published May 1, 2018 | By Lisa Bernard-Kuhn on MJBizDaily.com
“Klein argues that a “complex web” of federal rules could still deter banks from doing business with cannabis companies, depending on the specific policies lawmakers choose to press forward with.
In April, the U.S. Small Business Administration updated its lending rules to prohibit banks from issuing SBA-backed loans to businesses that work directly or indirectly with the cannabis and hemp industries “because federal law prohibits the sale and distribution of marijuana.”
Descheduling marijuana, Klein said, could likely have the most impact on banking practices going forward.
Removing cannabis from the list of scheduled substances could lift some requirements placed on banks to file “suspicious activity reports” and follow time-intensive, costly guidelines when accepting money tied to legal marijuana.
But even if the drug is descheduled, most experts expect cannabis companies will still face pricier banking fees and stricter reporting guidelines.”
There are a few bills Congress is rumored to be in the works right now that are supposed to address this exact issue. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has flipped his position and has said he plans to introduce legislation to decriminalize cannabis. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) are saying they are working on legislation that will give the states the right to decide on their own cannabis laws. It seems as though this might make things more complicated as the big banks are still regulated federally. Also brings into question if the money is insured by FDIC. It looks like we are going to have more questions than answers for the near future.
As the article stated, bottom line… we will be waiting for quite some time to get cannabis banking regulated! Anyone who is waiting for that to happen is going to be holding their breath for a while. It is hopeful that with some of these very powerful former legislators who are changing their views and are now getting involved in the industry themselves. Let’s hope they try to move things along a little more efficiently. I do agree that we need to make sure it is done right the 1st time. Otherwise it could be a disaster for the industry and possibly the entire economy.