The number of banks that are willing to work with marijuana businesses is steadily climbing, even after the Department of Justice revoked protections for state cannabis laws, new federal data shows.
By the end of March, 411 banks and credit unions in the U.S. were “actively” operating accounts for marijuana businesses, according to a report from the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). That’s up more than 20% from when President Trump took office early last year.
While the number of financial institutions servicing cannabis growers, processors, retailers and related businesses dipped slightly in the two months immediately following U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s decision this January to revoke Obama-era Justice Department guidance protecting state marijuana laws, the total has since started to climb again.
A growing number of states are moving to allow cannabis for recreational or medical use, but federal prohibition remains unchanged, for now. As a result, banks that accept marijuana industry money run the risk of running afoul of U.S. money laundering and other laws.
Because of financial services providers’ reluctance to work with marijuana businesses, many are forced to operate on a cash-only basis, which makes them targets for robberies. [Read more at Forbes]