Banking guidance issued by the federal government has left the cannabis industry with less than it had hoped. Many mainstream financial institutions say they need to see a change to marijuana’s federal classification under the Controlled Substances Act before they will be comfortable with the industry.
In the days following the joint policy memos, major U.S. institutions continue to refuse to work with the industry. A spokeswoman from Wells Fargo said the bank will continue to ban cannabis businesses because, based on federal law, “the sale and use of marijuana is still illegal.”
The American Banking Association released a similar statement saying banks that work with cannabis businesses can still face “prosecution and assorted sanctions” and the organization released a Q&A-type document detailing its objections.
The Colorado Bankers Association went even further, saying that the memorandum of guidance in fact spells out why banks should not work with cannabis businesses!
However, things will change. There is too much money involved and too much state tax revenue involved.
Michael Rupkalvis, president of the payment processing company The Transaction Group, believes the industry will see traditional swipe-card accounts being offered to businesses before the end of the year. “Believe me, card processors want to work with this industry,” he said. “Most of these businesses do great revenue with very few dispute/charge back problems.”