Illinois’ Bank of Springfield is closing the accounts of the state’s medical cannabis companies by May 21 leaving most of the state’s operators to handle their business transactions in cash, the Chicago Tribune reports. The action is directly tied to the January revocation of the Cole Memo by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Bank of Springfield Spokesman Andrew Mack told the Tribune that the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment included in the federal spending bill – which prevents the federal government from using funds to crack down on state-approved medical cannabis programs – doesn’t provide “enough comfort” for the bank to keep providing services to the industry.
“The bank’s stance is that protecting their customers is paramount. The Bank of Springfield will not jeopardize any of their customers by working with businesses that operate in the legal gray zone.” – Mack to the Tribune
Illinois’ medical cannabis sales reached $8.5 million in February. Jeremy Unrah, director of public and regulatory policy for PharmaCann, indicated that they had another bank that would serve them; however, he called the action by Bank of Springfield “a real punch in the gut” for the “industry at large.” Two other dispensaries – New Age Care and Thrive Dispensary – said they have been operating in cash for two years and six months, respectively.
Ross Morreale, co-founder of Ataraxia, which co-owns three dispensaries and a cultivation facility said losing the bank moves operators the “closest [they’ve] been to being without banks in Illinois in this industry.”