September 07, 2017

September's Monitor tackles 'The Cannabis Conundrum'

In this month's Compliance Monitor, now available for download, NAFCU Special Counsel for Compliance and Research Pamela Yu summarized problems affecting the financial industry's service to the legal marijuana industry as a result of conflicting state and federal laws.

In the article, Yu highlighted recent polling that shows three-fifths of Americans support legalized marijuana and almost three-fourths oppose the federal government enforcing its cannabis laws over state laws.

"Legalized marijuana has not only gained popularity among the public, it has been a huge boon to local and state government coffers," Yu wrote in the Monitor. "Take Colorado, for example. As one of the first states in the country to legalize recreational marijuana for adults, the marijuana industry in Colorado is booming and thriving. In 2016, legal marijuana sales in that state reportedly surpassed $1.3 billion."

Despite booming business, Yu said the marijuana industry remains largely cash-based because "financial transactions involving proceeds from marijuana-related activity can still form the basis for federal criminal prosecution, despite growing legalization under state law."

Read the full article about the issues credit unions and other financial institutions face while providing services to marijuana businesses, including a case study of one credit union that tried but has so far failed, here.

Also in the month's Monitor, NAFCU Regulatory Compliance staff answered questions about FinCEN requirements to risk rate new accounts and privacy protections under Regulation P and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, as well as recent credit union news snippets and upcoming education opportunities.