As differences continue to exist in state and federal law around the cannabis industry, it creates a growing gray area for financial institutions around providing banking services to cannabis-related businesses (CRBs) or marijuana-related businesses (MRBs).
CRBs operate with high levels of cash, with many of them currently cash-only businesses. Traditional banking services, such as ACH and wires, are not readily available to CRBs because intrastate commerce has not been approved federally for marijuana-related businesses. The hemp industry is at the beginning phases of federal legalization, with the USDA releasing its interim final rule around it in October. Also, major credit card companies have declined to provide services to CRBs or customers doing business at CRBs due to the legal gray areas. This increase in cash escalates the threat of robberies, assault, and other aggressive crimes both at these businesses and in the surrounding communities. By providing banking services, financial institutions are increasing public safety by helping to alleviate the amount of cash at CRBs or MRBs. It also allows financial institutions to properly monitor for and report on suspicious activity, ensuring that the CRBs in their communities are legitimate.