DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: The Obama administration issued new rules Friday intended to ease the concerns of banks wanting to deal with businesses that legally sell marijuana, something the nation’s banks have so far declined to do.
The rules, issued by the Treasury and Justice Departments, are intended to “move from the shadows the historically covert financial operations of marijuana businesses,” said Jennifer Shasky Calvery, director of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
While 20 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws allowing the sale of medical and recreational marijuana, its production, sale, and possession remain illegal under federal law. And because the federal government regulates banking transactions, marijuana dealers have been unable to get banks to do business with them.
As a result, dealers operate strictly with cash, creating a tempting target for thieves. Treasury Department officials say the revised rules should reduce the dangers associated with conducting an all-cash business.