U.S. government issues guidelines for banks to provide services to marijuana businesses

Asks that banks report suspicious activity


Banks now have permission to
offer financial services to marijuana-related businesses.

The Treasury and Justice
Departments issued guidance Friday that addresses conflicting state and federal
laws regarding marijuana. Despite a federal ban on both medical and
recreational marijuana, 20 states and the
District of Columbia have legalized certain marijuana activity.

The freshly minted rules
require financial institutions to make regular reports to the Treasury
Department and file suspicious activity reports (SAR) when necessary.

From the memo:

A financial institution is required to
file a SAR if … the financial institution knows, suspects, or has reason to
suspect that a transaction conducted or attempted by, at, or through the
financial institution:(i) involves funds derived from illegal activity or is an
attempt to disguise funds derived from illegal activity; (ii) is designed to
evade regulations promulgated under the (Bank Secrecy Act), or (iii) lacks a
business or apparent lawful purpose.