It is very challenging understanding the current federal administration’s intentions towards legalized marijuana. President Trump does not comment on it all that much but he placed possibly the greatest opponent to the cannabis movement in the attorney general seat with Jeff Sessions. Now, President Trump’s Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, has made comments suggesting that the federal financial system wants to accept marijuana business banking accounts.
Banking problems may be the largest challenge facing the cannabis industry, and they became more difficult after Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole Memo that protected cannabis businesses from U.S. attorneys earlier this year. Then news came out that the administration would be revoking yet another policy that allowed cannabis companies to open bank accounts.
“I assure you that we don’t want bags of cash,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testified on Tuesday during an appearance before the House Financial Services Committee. “We want to make sure that we can collect our necessary taxes and other things.”
Last week, a top Treasury official wrote in a letter to lawmakers that the department is “consulting with law enforcement” about whether to maintain the guidance for depository institutions. Last month, a Mnuchin deputy testified at a Senate hearing that the banking document remains in effect while the administration weighs whether to revoke it.
At the Tuesday hearing, Mnuchin confirmed that the department is “reviewing the existing guidance.” But he clarified that he doesn’t want to rescind it without having an alternate policy in place to address public safety concerns.
“The intent is not to take it down without a replacement that can deal with the current situation,” he said.
It is hard to accept that any new replacement for the current guidance would be more accommodating for marijuana business banking accounts. What do you think the chances are that the new guidance will be more restrictive than the current policy?