Big NY Banks Tell Licensed Medical Marijuana Firms To Take a Hike

NEW YORK: Some of the major federally regulated banks in New York have no plans to do business with the medical marijuana companies that were awarded licenses to grow and distribute the drug.

That means the banks will not accept deposits from the companies and will not allow bank-issued debit cards to be used to purchase the drug.

“While the use of medical marijuana is legal under applicable state laws in some states, the manufacture, distribution, and use of marijuana is still illegal under federal law,” a spokesman for Wells Fargo said. “Our policy of not banking marijuana-related businesses is based on applicable federal laws.”

Bipartisan Marijuana Banking Bill Introduced In The Senate

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Reflecting growing public support for changing the nation’s drug laws, a bipartisan group of senators on Thursday introduced the chamber’s first bill that would legalize banking for recreational marijuana companies.

Introduced by the Senate delegations from Oregon and Colorado, two of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana, the bill would prohibit the federal government from penalizing banks that work with marijuana businesses.

Though four states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana, the drug is still illegal under federal law. That makes it difficult for businesses operating in those legalized states to access financial services through the banking industry. Instead, those companies have to run all-cash operations that the senators say invites crime.