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Business Purpose Medical Marijuana-Legal?

Question: 
I have a possible prospect that would like to open a business account here and he has his business license and EIN number. The purpose of the business is Medical-marijuana dispensaries. We are a community bank and I want to know if it is legal to even open in the state of WA. I understand it is legal to have these dispensaries in the state of WA, will we be in compliance?
Answer: 

Answer by Randy Carey: While medical marijuana may be legal in the State of WA it is still illegal at the Federal level. This is going to be a risk based call by your institution.

Answer: 

Answer by Ken Golliher: Agreed. Personally, I think banking MSBs is a policy decision; i.e. the bank's BSA policy should say "Yes, we will" or "No, we won't."

As for a cannabis dispensary?

The suggestion becomes more rigid based on the fact that you can legally bank an MSB, but under federal law, the cannabis dispensary is illegal (I've heard FinCEN personnel say you should file SARs on them even if they are legal under state law). You want the board of directors to bless any decision like that in advance; i.e. in a state where they are legal under state law, the policy should say "Yes, we will" or "No, we won't."

First published on BankersOnline.com 10/8/12

First published on 10/08/2012

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