1. What are the biggest challenges when it comes to cannabis (THC) banking?
The banks themselves are the biggest obstacle. We hear about how federal prohibition has tied bankers’ hands, and the risk they take working with cannabusinesses. It’s simply untrue.
For several years, the federal government has maintained protocol on how banks should work with state-legal cannabis businesses, including anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) protocols. Banks can work with cannabis businesses by following this protocol, but many institutions are unwilling to try.
2. What are the biggest misconceptions people have when it comes to cannabis banking?
Cannabis business owners think they can’t access banking at all. While that’s not true anymore, this was once the case: Banking options were virtually nonexistent until a couple Colorado credit unions courageously pioneered cannabis-friendly programs. Their work opened the door for other banks to serve cannabis businesses in their neighborhoods. As of press time, more than 200 banks now work with the cannabis industry in some form, which is enough to provide banking services to every industry sector across all 50 states.
3. What would federal legalization or the passage of the Secure and Fair Enforcement Act (SAFE) mean for cannabis banking?
The SAFE Banking Act primarily codifies the existing regulatory framework. Most of the protocols for depository banking in SAFE are the ones that the FDIC, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) already use. Incidentally, it provides important encouragement to insurance companies and investment bankers. The SAFE Banking Act may move the needle slightly in terms of accessibility, convincing undecided bankers to get in the game. But in terms of the needed systemic overhaul, the impact of SAFE would pale in comparison to federal legalization.
4. What should cannabis businesses do to prepare for the future of banking?
A strong relationship with a financial institution is built on trust and honesty. The hard part is finding a bank willing to work with cannabis businesses. That’s where an experienced advisory group like Fincann comes in: We have built the industry’s first and largest coast-to-coast network of financial institutions that are ready and willing to work with all industry sectors.
Learn more: fincann.com