Credit Unions Get Green Light For Cannabis

Last week Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill that will allow credit unions and other financial institutions to service businesses that cultivate hemp and sell cannabidiol products as long as there is no more than 0.3% of THC. This week, NCUA (National Credit Union Association) Chairman Rodney Hood said that credit unions won’t be sanctioned for servicing cannabis-related accounts as long as they adhere to money laundering rules.

“It’s a business decision for the credit unions if they want to take the deposits,” Hood told the Credit Union Times. He added, “We don’t get involved with micro-managing credit unions.” Hood also told the CU Times that Congress could remove all ambiguity if it enacted legislation to declassify marijuana.


“While the Ohio Credit Union League takes no stance on the legality of marijuana, we do stand by our credit unions and their ability to legally serve all of their members and their financial needs,” Ohio League President/CEO Paul Mercer said. “Today’s [Tuesday] signing of SB57 allows Ohio businesses to do that effectively, while also bringing our state into alignment with federal legislation.” In addition to addressing the banking, the legislation also directs the Ohio Department of Agriculture to come up with rules and regulations for the licensing and processing of hemp within the state.

The Ohio Credit Union League also said that the bill had an emergency clause that meant the credit unions could begin working with the businesses immediately. The Ohio League represents 262 credit unions in the state said it supported the new legislation to bring Ohio law in line with federal standards as a result of the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill.

Guns & Ganja

The CU Times also recently ran a story that suggested a correlation between guns and cannabis banking that could happen. The Safe Banking of 2019 legislation has 206 co-sponsors and is gaining support. However, the Senate which is controlled by Republicans hasn’t seemed inclined to move on the Bill. The article suggested that a compromise could happen in which Operation Choke Point was outlawed in order to cannabis banking approved.

Operation Choke Point was an Obama-era initiative by the Department of Justice that would investigate banks doing business with gun companies for potential money laundering. It was ended in 2017, but other forms of this program have surfaced like JP Morgan choosing not to work with private prison companies. The suggestion is that these types of programs would not be allowed and banks would have to work with gun companies even if they don’t want to. If that is added, then they will move the Safe Banking legislation forward.

Debra Borchardt

Debra Borchardt is the Co-Founder, and Executive Editor of GMR. She has covered the cannabis industry for several years at Forbes, Seeking Alpha and TheStreet. Prior to becoming a financial journalist, Debra was a Vice President at Bear Stearns where she held a Series 7 and Registered Investment Advisor license. Debra has a Master's degree in Business Journalism from New York University.

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