OLYMPIA, Wash. - The governors of Washington and Colorado are seeking more guidance from the federal government about banking services for their new legal marijuana industries.
The Treasury and Justice Departments announced in February that banks could do open accounts for state-licensed marijuana businesses, even though marijuana is illegal under federal law. But the guidelines did not erase the threat of prosecution if banks handle money for bad actors in the industry, and they included a long list of hoops the banks must jump through if they want to work with pot money.
In a letter released Monday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said the February announcement clarified some of the banks' obligations under the federal Bank Secrecy Act. But they say financial institutions are still waiting to hear how other federal banking agencies, including the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., might handle the issue.