The New Congress Takes Its First Crack at Cannabis Reform

Advocates and those in Congress who have long been clamoring for cannabis reform are expected to get their first swing today at solving the biggest hurdle faced by the increasing number of state-legal cannabis businesses squirming to operate under federal prohibition. 

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Attorney Steven Schain, who has both banking and cannabis business clients for the cannabis-focused Hoban Law Group, told Cannabis Wire his list of 54 banks that are willing to work with cannabis clients hasn’t gone up much in recent months. 

He explained that for cannabis businesses that make deposits, banks must file a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR). The uptick in SAR reports toward the end of last year sent to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN) doesn’t necessarily reflect more banks willingly engaging with cannabis businesses, as some hope, Schain said. Instead, the additional reports to FINCEN may reflect one-off agreements with friends of the bank or institutions that don’t know they have cannabis clients and soon drop them after filing a SAR, he said.