January 23, 2014

National Cannabis Industry Association Applauds Attorney General for Committing to a Banking Fix ‘Very Soon’

Holder announced today that the Obama administration will issue guidance allowing banks to serve state-legal cannabis businesses

Industry projected to produce $2.57B in revenue in 2014, forced to operate almost entirely in cash

DENVER – The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) today applauded remarks from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, announcing imminent guidance from the Obama Administration to allow financial institutions to serve state-legal marijuana businesses.

“For the legal, regulated cannabis industry, this is very welcome news,” said NCIA executive director Aaron Smith. “We have been anxiously awaiting clarity on the banking issue from the Justice and Treasury Departments for many months. To hear that guidance will be issued ‘very soon’ is encouraging. It’s critical that we fix this issue before February 20, when our Colorado members must pay their first round of state taxes, or the Colorado Department of Revenue may be forced to accept more than $1 million in cash payments.

“We’re grateful to Attorney General Holder and other federal officials who have been working to resolve this crisis. The safety of our members is threatened by the current lack of banking access and this resolution cannot come soon enough.”

In the absence of guidance from federal enforcers, most financial institutions have been unwilling to provide even the most basic banking services, such as checking and savings accounts, to medical or adult-use marijuana businesses. This forces state-authorized cannabis businesses to handle their financial transactions, including sales, payroll, taxes, and licensing fees, entirely in cash. The latest projections from industry analysis firm ArcView Market Research indicate that the legal cannabis industry will add $2.57 billion to the American economy in 2014.


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