Credit unions in New Mexico have decided to close the bank accounts of many state-licensed medical marijuana producers. The credit unions claim they are unable to comply with the federal guidelines announced in February and are obliged to shut down the bank accounts of many marijuana businesses.
Producers in New Mexico now face the problem of finding new banking partners, or else they will have to return to operating in a cash-only economy.
“It is disappointing to see that the banking industry in New Mexico is failing to protect medical patients and small businesses in light of the assurances the federal administration has provided and a robust and thriving medical marijuana industry in the state,” said the Drug Policy Alliance’s state director, Emily Kaltenbach. “This abrupt move has all of us asking why they are unexpectedly ceasing to do business with the marijuana industry in New Mexico. We would like to know why they are unable to comply with the federal guidelines.”
The guidelines released by the Obama administration in February included the stipulation that banks working with the marijuana industry must keep tabs on the businesses they serve. Banks must also be able to guarantee that said businesses are properly licensed by the state and are not involved in any criminal activity under the state’s reformed marijuana law. Banks would still be held accountable for such violations, were they to occur.
Photo Credit: Ron Cogswell