The banking conundrum facing cannabis-related businesses

The banking conundrum facing cannabis-related businesses
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Access to a commercial bank account remains out of reach for many cannabis-related businesses in America. The Brookings Institution’s Aaron Klein explains why.

State-legalised cannabis has grown rapidly in America. Today one in five Americans live in a state that allows recreational cannabis and over 97% of Americans live in states that allow some level of medicinal cannabis.1 State-licensed cannabis has become a commercial enterprise with special marijuana dispensaries opening up to serve medical or recreational customers depending on the state. Commerce requires finance and thus cannabis-related businesses need commercial bank accounts for everything from accepting customers’ payments to paying their own employees. Banks are a heavily federally regulated industry and cannabis remains illegal federally.

While banks have begun addressing the needs of this new industry, they are far behind: out of the almost 11,000 banks and credit

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