Marijuana was officially legalized for recreational use in Colorado as of Jan. 1 2014, but being that it’s still currently illegal both federally and in the 49 remaining states, the flow of funds associated with the sale of weed could cause headaches for financial institutions. Fortunately, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is expected to offer guidelines to financial institutions in a memo that the Wall Street Journal reports should be coming any day. But banks remain nervous that the guidelines do not go far enough to protect them.
Under current federal law, any bank institution caught accepting deposits from known drug dealers would be in violation of money-laundering laws. Deposits that are suspect require the bank involved to fill out suspicious activity reports. Financial firms are concerned that similar regulations could be used to charge them when dealing with Colorado-based marijuana sales.