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Federal Reserve President Talks Banking Issues With Colorado Cannabis Industry

Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City president Esther George on Thursday listened intently to a group of 20 businessmen, bankers and government officials who talked about the troubling lack of banking services available to the marijuana industry, but offered little indication about how it could be resolved.

Ester George, president of Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
Ester George, president of Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

In the first meeting of its kind, George heard tales from marijuana business owners that ranged from one who was made to close more than a dozen bank accounts — each time leaving with an armful of cash — to another who described how a family member uninvolved with the enterprise was forced to close an investment account, according to people who attended the closed-door affair.

“The fact that she took the time to meet … is a significant indicator of how seriously these issues are being taken now,” said Taylor West, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. “So even if there isn’t immediate action coming out of the meeting, it’s still definitely a positive step forward.”

Bankers and credit-union executives told George about unease about federal guidelines for handling marijuana accounts that were issued last year, describing concern about regulator backlash should a trusted customer suddenly turn out to be a rogue. [Read more at The Denver Post]

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