Brokerages, investors and banks are executing trades of dozens of marijuana firms listed on federally-supervised stock exchanges despite a dearth of official guidance on whether the transactions violate U.S. rules against money laundering. In August 2013, the U.S. Justice Department set out eight "priorities" for enforcing federal laws against marijuana amid several state ballot initiatives to legalize its use, and, in February 2014, advised that it "may not be appropriate" to investigate and prosecute financial institutions providing services that don't match those objectives. The U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) concurrently issued its own guidance instructing banks to...
U.S. broker-dealers are far more likely than depository institutions to take on state-sanctioned cannabis firms as clients, according to Alison Jimenez, president of Florida-based consultancy Dynamic Securities Analytics, Inc.
Leaders of the U.S. Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control sharply criticized the head of the nation's financial intelligence unit for issuing guidance on how banks can treat marijuana dispensaries.
Banks can choose whether to keep accounts for certain marijuana dispensaries and report limited information to federal officials when the businesses are unlikely targets of prosecutors, the U.S. Treasury Department said Friday.
A number of marijuana dispensaries are attempting to convert their profits into securities and other investments to hedge against the threat of having their bank accounts frozen and subjected to federal asset forfeiture proceedings, say sources.
Tasked to consider whether it can offer regulatory relief to the medical marijuana industry, the U.S. Treasury Department may have few options to persuade reluctant financial institutions to bank state-approved dispensaries.