Canada’s Cannabis Credit Union

When you’ve got a cannabis credit union in your corner, nothing seems impossible. Despite Canadian cannabis legalization, banking for cannabis producers and operators is still a struggle. That’s where Community Savings Credit Union has stepped up. With seven branches in British Columbia, they’ve won two awards from the Canadian Marketing Association for cannabis advocacy. Specifically, they won awards for their “Roll with us” marketing campaign and “Does your bank deliver,” which compared choosing their services with choosing toppings for your […]

The post Canada’s Cannabis Credit Union appeared first on Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana | News.

How to Get a Credit Union Account for Your Hemp Business

Commercial marijuana activity remains a federal crime,  and the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) generally prohibits financial institutions from accepting marijuana-generated dollars. Financial institutions that work with marijuana businesses must conduct due diligence to ensure that marijuana businesses are complying with state law. That includes regularly submitting Suspicious Activity Reports (“SARs”) to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”). Regulated commercial hemp activity is not a federal crime, but hemp’s close proximity to marijuana makes it a generally high-risk endeavor for financial institutions who generally don’t have a high risk tolerance to begin with. That has made it very difficult for many hemp and hemp-derived CBD (“Hemp-CBD”) businesses to access bank accounts. That is changing.

On August 19, the National Credit Union Administration (“NCUA”) released Interim Guidance on Serving Hemp Businesses. The Guidance lays out what credit unions need to incorporate into their Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) and Anti-Money Laundering (“AML”) compliance programs in order to work with hemp businesses.

First, credit unions need to maintain appropriate due diligence procedures for hemp-related accounts and comply with BSA and AML requirements to file Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) for any activity that appears to involve potential money laundering or illegal or suspicious activity. It is the NCUA’s understanding that SARs are not required to be filed for the activity of hemp-related businesses operating lawfully, provided the activity is not unusual for that business. Credit unions need to remain alert to any indication an account owner is involved in illicit activity or engaging in activity that is unusual for the business.

Second, if a credit union serves hemp-related businesses lawfully operating under the 2014 Farm Bill pilot provisions, it is essential the credit union knows the state’s laws, regulations, and agreements under which each member that is a hemp-related business operates. For example, a credit union needs to know how to verify the member is part of the pilot program. Credit unions also need to know how to adapt their ongoing due diligence and reporting approaches to any risks specific to participants in the pilot program.

Third, when deciding whether to serve hemp-related businesses that may already be able to operate lawfully–those not dependent on the forthcoming USDA regulations and guidelines for hemp production–the credit union needs to first be familiar with any other federal and state laws and regulations that prohibit, restrict, or otherwise govern these businesses and their activity.  For example, a credit union needs to know if the business and the product(s) is lawful under federal and state law, and any relevant restrictions or requirements under which the business must operate. For example, certain hemp-derived products may now or in the future be regulated by state health departments and/or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

NCUA’s guidance is written for credit unions but these guidelines are important for hemp businesses because it gives insight into what credit unions are going to need from hemp businesses. Below are some questions any hemp business should be prepared to answer when seeking an account with a credit union.

Where was the hemp grown? For cultivators, this question should be easy as they are the ones growing hemp and can easily provide a credit union a copy of the license or permit provided by a state department of agriculture that authorizes the production of hemp under the 2014 Farm Bill, which currently governs domestic hemp cultivation, or the 2018 Farm Bill which will govern cultivation after the USDA starts approving state hemp plans. Companies that are manufacturing products that contain hemp or selling finished Hemp-CBD products, this may present more of a challenge if they haven’t been closely tracking the source of their hemp. Manufacturers and distributors should have copies on file of every hemp cultivator who grew hemp that is contained in their products and should be prepared to explain to a credit union how they keep track of this information.

Who is buying hemp? According to the Guidance, the NCUA does not believe that credit unions are required to submit SARs when working with hemp businesses, but they are still mandated to submit SARs for suspicious activity. That means the credit union is going to watch a hemp business’ account activity closely. If a hemp business is receiving payments from a suspicious account, that will raise red flags. Also, most states that allow for hemp cultivation do not allow the direct sale of raw hemp to unlicensed individuals. Some states issue processing, manufacturing, or wholesaling licenses. Hemp cultivators should be prepared to explain who is buying their hemp and should provide a credit union copies of the license or permits of their buyers, if applicable. Cultivators should also be prepared to explain how they transport hemp to buyers, especially if raw hemp is moving across state lines as many states have specific regulations on the topic. If a state doesn’t require a license to process or manufacture hemp, hemp cultivators should be prepared to explain that as well.

What products are you selling, where are you selling them, and how are they marketed? Lets cut to the chase: much of the interest in hemp is due to Hemp-CBD and the legality of Hemp-CBD varies widely from state-to-state and that the Food and Drug Administration’s (“FDA”) position is that Hemp-CBD cannot be added to food, dietary supplements, or unapproved drugs. NCUA indicated that credit unions must be aware of restrictions and regulations under other state and federal law. This question is going to be a major focus for distributors of Hemp-CBD products, but hemp manufacturers or cultivators should be prepared to answer this as well if they are selling directly to consumers or know that they are in the production chain of Hemp-CBD products. Credit unions are going to look out for Hemp-CBD in foods and dietary supplements, as the FDA has clearly stated that Hemp-CBD may not be legally added to these products. The credit union will also want to see marketing materials to watch out for medical claims as such claims will cause the FDA to categorize a product as an unapproved drug. The FDA’s position on Hemp-CBD in cosmetics and smokable hemp is not as hostile but some states have enacted laws or regulations prohibiting smokable hemp. States also differ widely on how they treat Hemp-CBD, generally including: what types of products are prohibited, standards for THC testing, requirements for labeling and packaging, manufacturing standards, and whether products must be registered in a given state, just to name a few examples. Hemp businesses should be prepared to explain how they are complying with regulations in each state where they do business.

How are you monitoring regulatory changesWith the ever-changing laws and regulations, hemp businesses should expect to discuss the efforts they make to stay up-to-date on law and policy regarding hemp. A credit union is going to want to know that its hemp clients are well informed and carefully tracking the industry with procedures in place to comply with new regulations.

The above questions are not a comprehensive checklist, but if you are prepared to answer each in detail, you’ll be in a good position when it comes time to meet with your local credit union. If not, contact our Hemp-CBD attorneys to help get your business on track.

Hemp Businesses Can Bank with Credit Unions, Regulatory Agency Says

A federal financial agency released updated guidelines on banking in the hemp industry on Aug. 19, 2019, following up on requests from lawmakers to provide clarity on the issue.

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) said in its interim guidance that providing banking services to hemp businesses is allowable since the crop and its derivatives were federally legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill. The notice also emphasized the economic potential of hemp and the role credit unions can play as the industry continues to develop.

“Lawful hemp businesses provide exciting new opportunities for rural communities,” NCUA Chairman Rodney Hood said in a press release. “I believe today’s interim guidance keeps with the mission of the nation’s cooperative credit system to serve people who have been overlooked and underserved.”

“Many credit unions have a long and successful history of providing services to the agriculture sector,” he said. “My expectation is that credit unions will thoughtfully consider whether they are able to safely and properly serve lawfully operating hemp-related businesses within their fields of membership.”

In a letter sent to Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado in July 2019, which the presidential candidate’s Senate office shared exclusively with Marijuana Moment, Hood noted that NCUA was “working on possible future guidance to financial institutions” but that such guidance would be subject to change depending on what regulations the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) ultimately develops.

In the meantime, the new interim guidance notes that “growth in hemp-related commerce could provide new economic opportunities for some communities, and will create a need for such businesses to be able to access capital and financial services” while clarifying that credit unions “may provide the customary range of financial services for business accounts, including loans, to lawfully operating hemp-related businesses within their fields of membership.”

While NCUA said that it is “generally a credit union’s business decision as to the types of permissible services and accounts to offer,” it highlighted the need to comply with the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) requirements, in particular:

  • Credit unions need to maintain appropriate due diligence procedures for hemp-related accounts and comply with BSA and AML requirements to file Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) for any activity that appears to involve potential money laundering or illegal or suspicious activity. It is the regulatory agency’s understanding that SARs are not required to be filed for the activity of hemp-related businesses operating lawfully, provided the activity is not unusual for that business. Credit unions need to remain alert to any indication an account owner is involved in illicit activity or engaging in activity that is unusual for the business.
  • If a credit union serves hemp-related businesses lawfully operating under the 2014 Farm Bill pilot provisions, the credit union must know the state’s laws, regulations, and agreements under which a hemp-related business operates. For example, a credit union needs to know how to verify the member is part of the pilot program. Credit unions also need to know how to adapt their ongoing due diligence and reporting approaches to any risks specific to participants in the pilot program.
  • When deciding whether to serve hemp-related businesses that may already be able to operate lawfully (i.e., those not dependent on the forthcoming USDA regulations and guidelines for hemp production) the credit union needs to first be familiar with any other federal and state laws and regulations that prohibit, restrict, or govern these business activities. For example, a credit union needs to know if the business and the product(s) is lawful under federal and state law, and any relevant restrictions or requirements under which the business must operate.

“Hemp provides new opportunities for communities with an economic base involving agriculture,” the notice stated. “The NCUA encourages credit unions to thoughtfully consider whether they are able to safely and properly serve lawfully operating hemp-related businesses within their fields of membership.

“Lending to a lawfully operating hemp-related business is permissible.”

After the USDA releases its rules for the hemp industry, which are expected to come ahead of the 2020 planting season, NCUA said it “will issue additional guidance on this subject.”

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who like Bennet has also pressured federal regulators to clear up confusion around hemp banking, took credit for NCUA’s response and celebrated the new guidance.

“I’m delighted to hear the NCUA has answered my call on behalf of Kentuckians to ensure the legal hemp industry can access much-needed financial services,” McConnell said in a press release. “Although President Trump signed into law my initiative last year to remove hemp from the federal list of controlled substances, many of my constituents have told me about their difficulty receiving loans and other services that are necessary to successfully run a hemp business.

“Through this guidance by the NCUA, I look forward to more hemp farmers, processors and manufacturers starting or growing their operations with the help of Kentucky’s credit unions. As Senate Majority Leader, I’ll continue advocating for Kentucky’s priorities throughout the federal government, and I’m proud of today’s positive news.”

Credit unions have generally been friendlier to the marijuana and hemp industries than have conventional banks, and the NCUA has similarly taken a more proactive role in evolving to meet the demands of these burgeoning markets.

For example, the agency’s head clarified earlier in August 2019 that credit unions wouldn’t be punished simply for serving hemp businesses so long as they were following standard procedures. The NCUA also released a draft rule in July that would allow people with past drug convictions to work at credit unions.

Cannabis banking issues have received significant congressional attention this session, with a bipartisan consensus emerging around creating a legislative fix so that hemp and marijuana businesses are able to access financial services.

The hemp industry, in particular, has enjoyed bipartisan support since the crop was legalized, but while marijuana remains a federally controlled substance, more lawmakers from both parties are expressing interest in affording cannabis businesses the same access in order to increase financial transparency and mitigate public safety risks associated with operating on a largely cash-only basis.

The House Financial Services Committee approved a bill in March 2019 that would protect banks that service marijuana businesses from being penalized by federal regulators, and the Senate Banking Committee also held a hearing on the issue last month.

Republican Senate Banking Committee Chair Mike Crapo of Idaho, who suggested earlier in 2019 that his panel wouldn’t convene to discuss the matter as long as cannabis is federally illegal, has since taken a stance that the issue needs to be resolved.

But while advocates hoped that legislation to address marijuana banking problems would be taken up by the full House ahead of the August recess, that window closed and attention is now turned to a potential hearing in fall 2019.

Feature image: Under a guidance issued by the National Credit Union Administration on Aug. 19, 2019, credit unions would be able to extend services to hemp businesses as long as several other financial, agricultural, and other federal and state regulations are followed. (Photo by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps News)


This article has been republished from Marijuana Moment under a content syndication agreement. Read the original article here.

The post Hemp Businesses Can Bank with Credit Unions, Regulatory Agency Says appeared first on Weedmaps News.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, August 20, 2019 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Credit Unions Can Bank Hemp Businesses, Federal Agency Announces (Marijuana Moment)

// Oregon Has Way Too Much Legal Weed. This Is Where It’s Going (Vice)

// Marijuana Taxes Differ In Legalized States, Complicating Projections (Marijuana Moment)


Today’s headlines are brought to you by our friends over at Eaze.com, California’s top one stop website for legal marijuana delivery. If you live in the golden state, swing over to Eaze.com to see if they are active in your area. With deliveries taking place in less than an hour, it’s never been easier to get legal California marijuana delivery. And of course, if you don’t live where Eaze delivers, you can still benefit from all the useful bits of industry insight and analysis they’ve developed using their properly aggregate and anonymized sales data stream.


// ‘The system is swamped.’ Canada can’t keep up with requests to study cannabis (Science Magazine)

// Columbia begins shipping CBD to Switzerland (Grizzle)

// Medicine Man Technologies Continues to Execute on Colorado Roll-Up Strategy with Announcement of $17.25 Million Pending Acquisition (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Canadian cannabis investors still waiting for a breakout company to emerge (Growth Op)

// Deschutes County imposes marijuana moratorium (Bend Bulletin)

// Louisiana medical cannabis supplies adequate, state says (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Bernie Sanders Calls For Legalization Of Marijuana And Safe Injection Sites (Marijuana Moment)


Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: Eljay/Flickr

Wednesday, August 7, 2019 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Wednesday, August 7, 2019 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Louisiana Patients Finally Get Their Medical Marijuana (Leafly (AP))

// Colorado Sold Twice As Much Recreational Marijuana As Medical Cannabis Last Year (Marijuana Moment)

// Florida attorney dubs himself ‘PotDaddy’ in blunt tweet showing his support for legalizing weed (NBC 2)


These headlines are brought to you by Curaleaf, one of the leading vertically-integrated cannabis operators in the U.S. With legal medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation sites, and processing facilities all over the United States, Curaleaf has served more than 100,000 medical cannabis patients and looks forward to helping many more long into the future. Swing over to Curaleaf.com to learn more about this very cool company!


// Chart: Newer marijuana markets embrace social equity programs (Marijuana Business Daily)

// $68.4 Million Epidiolex Sales Drive GW Pharma’s $72 Million Revenue in Q2 (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Judge rules New Mexico must open medical cannabis market to nonresidents (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Mexico seeks public input as marijuana legalization draws closer (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Alaska credit union to end pilot program that served marijuana businesses (Anchorage Daily News)

// Outside Lands Cannabis Decision Still On Hold (San Francisco Weekly)

// Casting Call: Hosts Wanted for a New Cannabis Product Review Show (Leafly)


Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: Satish Krishnamurthy/Flickr

Tuesday, August 6, 2019 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, August 6, 2019 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// GOP Lawmaker Who Blamed Shootings On Marijuana Legalization Should Resign, Party Chair Says (Marijuana Moment)

// AG Dana Nessel eyes tweaks to recreational marijuana law (Michigan Live)

// Study: Colorado Teens Reduce Cannabis Smoking, Increase Edibles (Leafly)


Today’s headlines are brought to you by our friends over at Eaze.com, California’s top one stop website for legal marijuana delivery. If you live in the golden state, swing over to Eaze.com to see if they are active in your area. With deliveries taking place in less than an hour, it’s never been easier to get legal California marijuana delivery. And of course, if you don’t live where Eaze delivers, you can still benefit from all the useful bits of industry insight and analysis they’ve developed using their properly aggregate and anonymized sales data stream.


// Henry’s Original Closes On $11 Million Series B Round (Green Market Report)

// Election Preview: Michigan Towns Vote Tuesday on Cannabis Bans (Leafly)

// Florida Lawmaker Files Bill To Decriminalize Marijuana (Marijuana Moment)

// West Virginia’s medical cannabis delays test patience of marijuana business owners (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Missouri starts taking applications for nearly 350 medical marijuana licenses (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Credit Unions Won’t Be Punished For Working With Marijuana Businesses Federal Regulator Says (Marijuana Moment)

// Online Searches for CBD Officially Surpass Beyonce and Kim Kardashian (Observer)


Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: Sam Greene/The Enquirer

Monday, February 25, 2019 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Monday, February 25, 2019 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Five Governors Talk Marijuana And Hemp At Media Conference (Marijuana Moment)

// First Look: Spike Jonze And Jesse Williams Captivate In MedMen’s New Cannabis Commercial (Forbes)

// New Mexico Lawmakers Vote To Advance Two Separate Marijuana Legalization Bills (Marijuana Moment)


Today’s headlines are brought to you by our friends over at Eaze.com, California’s top one stop website for legal marijuana delivery. If you live in the golden state, swing over to Eaze.com to see if they are active in your area. With deliveries taking place in less than an hour, it’s never been easier to get legal California marijuana delivery. And of course, if you don’t live where Eaze delivers, you can still benefit from all the useful bits of industry insight and analysis they’ve developed using their properly aggregate and anonymized sales data stream.


// Florida Senator Wants To Let Voters Decide On Marijuana Legalization (Marijuana Moment)

// Colorado Cannabis Wants To Go Public But Not Everyone Is On Board (Colorado Public Radio)

// Atlantic Canadians still buying more pot than rest of Canada sales figures show (Global News)

// Chart: Adult-use marijuana sales spike 7% on Valentine’s Day (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Idaho State Police Are Not Required to Return Seized Hemp (Yet) (Canna Law Blog)

// ‘Inundated’ CA credit union suspends new applications from cannabis firms (Marijuana Business Daily)

// What’s former Mavericks coach Don Nelson been up to?: ‘I’ve been smoking some pot’ (Dallas News Sports)


Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: Oregon Department of Transportation/Flickr

Thursday, May 23, 2019 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Thursday, May 23, 2019 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// CA Senate votes to allow banks credit unions to accept marijuana retailer deposits (Marijuana Business Daily (AP))

// Exclusive: Facebook will not allow marijuana sales on its platform (Market Watch)

// Canopy Growth Buys Global Skincare Company This Works for $74 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)


Today’s headlines are brought to you by our friends over at Eaze.com, California’s top one stop website for legal marijuana delivery. If you live in the golden state, swing over to Eaze.com to see if they are active in your area. With deliveries taking place in less than an hour, it’s never been easier to get legal California marijuana delivery. And of course, if you don’t live where Eaze delivers, you can still benefit from all the useful bits of industry insight and analysis they’ve developed using their properly aggregate and anonymized sales data stream.


// Seven-In-Ten Americans Want Federal Marijuana Convictions Automatically Sealed, Survey Finds (Marijuana Moment

// More than 600 people will be growing hemp this year in Michigan (Michigan Live)

// Officials direct $1.8M in weed fees for homeless services (CT Post (AP))

// Square Quietly Launches Program For CBD Cannabis Company Credit Card Processing (Forbes)

// Texas expansion of medical cannabis nears finish line after Senate approval (Texas Tribune)

// Chris Long admits to regular marijuana use during NFL career and explains how he beat tests (Reno Gazette Journal)

// Growing pot sucks up electricity and pumps out an astounding amount of carbon dioxide – it doesn’t have to (Financial Post)


Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: nrkbeta/Flickr