According to new federal data, an increasing number of banks are willing to open up legal accounts for marijuana businesses.
The smell of something green always bring about the banks. With legalization blazing a trail around the globe, many banks have now dismissed the risk imposed by the federal government. In fact, the number of institutions that are actively banking with marijuana businesses has increased roughly 18% since the beginning of 2017.
According to Forbes,
“Last January, 340 financial services providers were banking marijuana businesses. That number rose to 400 by the end of September”
Banks More Willing, Despite Trump and Sessions
The rise occurs, even with Trump and Sessions making a bold crusade against cannabis. Sessions has made it clear that he is considering potential changes to the hands-off cannabis enforcement policies. He has called marijuana only “slightly less harmful” than heroin.
The Obama administration offered guidance to financial institutions in 2014. It focused on how to serve the marijuana industry without stepping on the toes of federal regulators. The policy requires banks to file regular reports on cannabis customers and intends to provide clarity and assurance. But federal laws still scared most banks out of dealing with marijuana businesses.
Sessions testified before Congress in November that the Obama administration’s guidance is still in effect. However, he later said that the Department of Justice is actively reviewing potential changes to the policy. He also held a meeting behind closed-doors with anti-legalization activists last month.
Even with pressures pushing against them, federal data shows a steady increase in the number of banks and credit unions actively banking with marijuana businesses.