Cannabis Laws Creating New Industries, New Laws and Regulations

In late 2012, Colorado voted to legalize marijuana for recreational uses. New Mexico, Arizona, and many other states allow the use of medical cannabis with a doctor’s recommendation. This means that there are new businesses popping up across the southwest, and there are new banking practices and regulations that must be put into effect to accommodate this new industry.

Entrepreneurial business owners in the marijuana industry have found it difficult to open bank accounts and accept credit cards, despite the fact that their business is largely within the boundaries of legal activity. In February, the Obama Administration issued banking guidelines to clear this up, stating that banks would not be punished for providing services to legal marijuana business owners—whether the business provides marijuana for recreational or medicinal purposes, as long as they are operating within the legality of their state.

Still, with the laws differing from state to state—and with Federal law still prohibiting marijuana possession, transportation, sale and use—this can be confusing, providing a difficult line for both bankers and marijuana entrepreneurs to walk.

With continually changing laws and new businesses emerging, we are happy to offer our legal advice to all involved parties. We want to make sure that business owners and bankers across the southwest understand the options open to them, and are protected by law to continue practicing legally.

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