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Survey: U.S. Bankers Warming Up To Cannabis

A recent survey reveals 82% of the executives surveyed at 453 unique banks in the USA want to do business with marijuana enterprises.

The nationwide survey by Promontory Interfinancial Network carried out in early April indicates support was highest in the West (89%) and the Midwest (85%).

The 2018 Farm Bill could be pointed to as part of the reason banks are eager for this business, but it’s important to note the language in the survey question:

“Should the federal government allow banks to serve businesses that commercially sell marijuana?”

Industrial hemp and marijuana are cannabis, but hemp is not marijuana. Some medical cannabis is derived from hemp but not all medical cannabis is hemp; some is marijuana. The 2018 Farm Bill removes restrictions on industrial hemp, not marijuana.

It can be a bit confusing, but we’ll assume that the bankers surveyed understand all this.

Due to the federal stance on medical cannabis/marijuana, financial institutions that take on clients in the industry run the risk of breaking various U.S. laws. The situation even had impacts on Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried when she was running for her position.

However, there is some light at the end of the tunnel – pressure is building on the federal government to make some changes.

Earlier this month, the attorney generals of 38 states and territories sent a letter to congressional leaders urging them to allow their respective jurisdictions to bank cannabusiness cash.

The CandidChronicle also points out the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act was re-introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives in March, followed by a companion bill in the Senate in April. Both offer protections for institutions that provide financial services for state-legitimate cannabusinesses.

On a related note, soon after the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law, a survey found 83% of Wisconsin bankers said they would not actively seek to provide loans to industrial hemp farmers and/or processors in the state. Perhaps it was too soon to ask the question and it would be interesting to see the same question posed again now some time has passed.

Terry Lassitenaz
Terry Lassitenaz writes exclusively for Hemp Gazette and has done so since the site launched in 2015. He has a special interest in the political arena relating to medical cannabis, particularly in Australia, and addressing the many myths surrounding this incredibly useful plant. You can contact Terry here.

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