Regardless of whether U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions ever plans to launch an official crackdown on legal marijuana, his scare tactics are working. In some parts of the country, those financial institutions that have been ballsy enough to do business with the cannabis industry since the days of President Obama are beginning to throw in the towel. It seems that some are concerned that Uncle Sam may eventually unleash the hounds — bringing down a level of fire and brimstone that rivals the tales of the Old Testament.
The latest retreat by the banking industry involves the primary service provider for the Illinois medical marijuana trade. The Bank of Springfield reportedly recently fired off a letter to its cannabis industry clientele, advising them that their accounts would be closed effective next month. According to a report from the Chicago Tribune, the bank’s decision to stop dealing with marijuana companies stems from Attorney General Sessions’ reversal of an Obama-era policy that has allowed states to experiment with legalization.
Since marijuana remains an outlaw substance in the eyes of the federal government, many larger financial institutions have shied away from doing business with marijuana firms.
But this snag has not stopped smaller banks and credit unions from throwing caution to the wind and opening accounts for those operations specializing in the art of growing and selling weed.
The situation created a false sense of security that the existence of the non-biding Cole Memo, which was designed to give states the freedom to legalize the leaf without federal interference, eliminated the risk of prosecution. Yet, since Sessions swooped in, tossed that memo in the trash and continues to threaten demise of legal weed in America, a lot of financial firms have been on a mission since the beginning of the year to clean up