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Pot Banking Legislation Won’t Have Much Impact
  • Most banks waiting for legalization, former DoJ lawyer says
  • SAFE Banking Act seen unlikely to pass before Nov. election

The chances that cannabis banking legislation will pass before the November election are dimming by the week, but the author of the Department of Justice’s 2014 guidance on pot banking says it may not matter anyway.

“For those banks that are on record as saying, ‘We will never bank this industry so long as it remains federally illegal,’ SAFE Banking doesn’t change a thing,” John Vardaman, former head of policy at the DoJ’s money laundering section, said in an interview. “At this point, there’s only so much more than can be done short of legalization.”

The DoJ and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, have made it clear that banks and credit unions won’t be punished for working with the pot industry. “There hasn’t been a single financial institution that has been prosecuted or faced any kind of regulatory enforcement action just because they were banking marijuana,” said Vardaman, who’s now chief compliance officer and general counsel for cannabis compliance firm Simplifya.

Even though cannabis banking is mostly limited to credit unions and small banks at the moment, it’s enough to cover the industry, said Tyler Beuerlein, chief revenue officer for Hypur, a banking and payment solutions provider. [Read More @ Bloomberg]

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