Customers, left to right, Alli Bertucci, Patrick Bean, and Ali Regan shop for marijuana inside the retail store at 3D Cannabis Center, in Denver, Friday Feb. 14, 2014. The marijuana industry breathed a sigh of relief Friday after federal banking regulators issued long-awaited permission for them to access basic banking services. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration on Friday gave banks a road map for conducting transactions with legal marijuana sellers so these new businesses can stash away savings, make payroll and pay taxes like any other enterprise. It’s not clear banks will get on board.
Guidance issued by the Justice and Treasury departments is the latest step by the federal government toward enabling a legalized marijuana industry to operate in states that approve it. The intent is to make banks feel more comfortable working with marijuana businesses that are licensed and regulated.
Others have a keen interest, too, in a regulated financial pipeline for an industry that is just emerging from the underground. Marijuana businesses that can’t use banks may have too much cash they can’t safely put away, leaving them vulnerable to criminals. And governments that allow marijuana sales want a channel to receive taxes.
But a leading financial services trade group immediately expressed misgivings and others, too, said the guidelines don’t go far enough in protecting banks.
“After a series of red lights, we expected Login to read more