Marijuana banking is a contentious topic, and everyone has an opinion. 

Depending on who you talk to, when you talk to them and what the latest political and regulatory news of the day might be, a lot of those opinions can be very fluid; marijuana banking is difficult right now, and that’s under the best circumstances.  

[LISTEN: Cannabis Banking – FinCEN Guidance, Part 2 — PODCAST EPISODE]

I’m not saying that fluid opinions are incorrect opinions, goodness knows I’ve been guilty of at least some fluidity when it comes to my own opinion about what we can and cannot successfully do when it comes to deposit banking or transaction processing for the state legal cannabis industry.  

We like to do our own research about marijuana banking. 

It’s not that we don’t believe what other people say (all the time), or that we think others might be wrong (some of the time); we think the topic of marijuana banking is way too important to leave all the research and conclusions to others. 

[READ: Cannabis industry banking, part 1 – ARTICLE]

Last month, we brought you Part 1 of a two part series on cannabis and marijuana banking – in that episode, we dissected the original Ogden memo, and discussed all three of the Cole memos.  In case you’re new to the industry, these are the guys who worked for the Department of Justice during the Obama administration, and they each had some things to say about marijuana banking and how it might (or should not) be handled by financial institutions.  


This week, we’re bringing you Part 2 of the podcast about marijuana banking and the FinCEN guidance that governs it. 

The podcast goes into some detail about the language of the FinCEN guidance that regulators, auditors and bank employees are required to follow if they are attempting to openly bank cannabis or cannabis related companies.  

We talk about the fact that the Treasury department guidance – FinCEN (financial crimes division) – relies upon the last Cole memo to leverage how financial institutions like credit unions, small banks, and their ilk should handle cash transactions from businesses, what sort of reporting and oversight needs to be included, and how Treasury should be informed (an ongoing process) of the assumed compliance of cannabis businesses with their state laws. 


It is our opinion the marijuana banking is allowable in states that have recognized, regulated and enforced laws about how cannabis businesses may operate within these states. 

Regardless of where you live or operate your business, if you are going to attempt to qualify for bank accounts, credit card processing or other financial services, there are a few things you are going to need to look at within your business setup – hopefully before you start applying for accounts. 

We’ve detailed, in previous articles, a basic list of what you’re going to need and why you’ll need it.  These are pretty standard, no matter what state you live or work in, and if you cannot meet these requirements, we can tell you right now that we would be hard pressed to find a financial institution that would be interested in working with you, no matter what kind of volume your business does. 

Your next steps. 

Listen to the podcast, read the articles, and if you have questions, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line.  We’re happy to give you our (non-lawyer) opinion, talk to you about (nearly 20 years) our experience in high risk transaction processing, or kibbutz with you about any of the marijuana banking related topics you might want to discuss.