Banks Shy Away From Oregon’s Legal Marijuana Businesses

Other banks are wary of assurances from federal agencies that if they serve cannabis businesses they won’t face money-laundering charges. According to marijuana business owners, some banks have told them that serving their businesses could lead to the banks’ losing their FDIC insurance. However, a 2014 directive from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a division of the U.S. Treasury, provides some clarity on the issue. Banks can serve those businesses, as long as they follow strict anti-money-laundering procedures. Nevertheless, pot business owners across Oregon have opened accounts only to have them quietly closed when the bank discovered the nature of their enterprise. Most are stuck conducting transactions in cash, including vendor payments and payroll. “By compelling Oregon business owners to operate on a cash-only basis, current federal laws are making marijuana businesses sitting ducks for violent crimes and perpetuating negative stereotypes. It is ridiculous to make any business owner carry duffel bags of cash just to pay their taxes,” Sen. Ron Wyden said in July after he, Sen.

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