If you own a marijuana business, chances are you do not have a bank account. And if you do have a bank account, there is a good chance that your account could be shutdown at anytime if it is determined that you grow, process, or sell cannabis. The feds have issued ‘clarifications’ that were supposed to help businesses in the marijuana industry gain banking access, but in reality those clarifications just added to the confusion. Banks don’t want to operate in grey areas, so rather than even deal with it, most just have a standing policy to not work with marijuana businesses.
The five medical marijuana companies in New York are learning the hard way just how harsh banks are towards the industry. Per Marijuana Business Daily:
A handful of major banks in the state – including Wells Fargo, PNC Bank, JP Morgan Chase, TD Bank and Key Bank – told Politico that they have no plans to work with the marijuana industry in New York or anywhere else.
“Until we get clarity from the feds, we are not banking on marijuana-related business,” a spokesman from JP Morgan Chase told Politico.
Other banks echoed the sentiment, saying the lack of clarity is a deal-breaker because they don’t want to risk breaking federal laws in order to work with cannabis companies.
If these high powered companies can’t get bank accounts, I think it’s safe to say that the average cannabis entrepreneur won’t be any luckier. If New York’s market is large in anyway, that’s going to be an enormous pile of cash that has to be secured, transported, and stored. Legal industries shouldn’t have to take such risks. They should be able to deposit their currency like other businesses do.