Banks and credit unions are getting more involved in banking with cannabis business operators, enough that now the regulators are offering some cautions.
The California Department of Business Oversight recently released guidance focusing on what due diligence banks and credit unions need to perform on a legal California cannabis business before they begin banking their money or extending lines of credit.
“If financial institutions choose to serve the cannabis market, they must understand risks and build out their compliance infrastructure accordingly,” said Commissioner of Business Oversight Manuel P. Alvarez in a statement. “By making this questionnaire available to our licensees, we hope it can serve as an additional resource for banks and credit unions as they roll out their cannabis banking programs.”
The questionnarie is aimed at state-chartered banks and credit unions considering banking with state legal cannabis and cannabis connected businesses.
The guidance also comes on the heels of federal movement towards allowing state legal cannabis businesses access to the banking industry through the SAFE Banking Act, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives late last month and is up for consideration in the U.S. Senate. Cannabis is still an illegal substance under federal rules.
In a press release, the state DBO said the guidelines are the result of more banks and credits unions looking to bank cannabis cash.
Focusing on ensuring financial institutions thoroughly examine a Marijuana Related Business, or MRB, the first section of the questionnaire is titled “Program Governance,” with the first question asking “Is there a comprehensive risk assessment of the business line?”
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