Justice Department Causes Confusion for Banks Over Marijuana Decision

Banks Confused by DOJ Decision on Marijuana

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to change federal policy on the marijuana industry has caused headaches for banks. Now, financial institutions are wondering how they can do business with the marijuana industry without violating federal money laundering laws.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), an office that is part of the Treasury Department, has been inundated with inquiries from members of Congress and others seeking clarity on the situation. Unfortunately, FinCEN is unable to provide answers since they never received advanced warning of Sessions’ intention to rescind the Cole Memo.

Critics of the DOJ say banks may stop doing business with the marijuana industry altogether.

“I imagine that Sessions did not even contemplate that his action could trigger potentially billions of dollars of cash from being unbanked,” said Saphira Galoob, of The Liaison Group, an organization that lobbies on behalf of cannabis clients.