According to a report from Reuters, regulators at the federal Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) were not informed about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ cannabis policy change but FinCEN spokesperson Stephen Hudack said the agency’s 2014 guidance “remains in place.”
According to September 2017 data from FinCEN more than 300 banks and nearly 100 credit unions are currently providing banking services to cannabis industry operators under the agency’s guidance. The 2014 FinCEN guidance was developed with input from Justice Department officials at that time; however, it also relied on the protection offered by the now-invalid Cole Memo.
Representatives Dennis Heck (D-WA) and Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) told Reuters that they will be sending a letter to FinCEN this week asking them not to rescind their guidance – which could “inject uncertainty into financial markets.”
In October 2016, FinCEN reported that 318 cannabis businesses were allowed access to banking services and that figure jumped to 400 at the end of August 2017, where it remained in September. The number of institutions dealing with the cannabis industry has been steadily increasing since the second quarter of 2014 – the quarter after the FinCen policy changes.