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New York governor encourages banks to support marijuana businesses

New York governor encourages banks to support marijuana businesses

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday announced plans to support the development of medical marijuana and industrial hemp businesses in New York, directing the state Department of Financial Services to provide guidance to support banking services for these businesses that operate illegally under the federal law.

The intersection of state laws permitting the cultivation, selling and use of medical marijuana and federal law that categorizes marijuana as a Schedule I drug — alongside cocaine and heroin — has long been a complicated issue for those who wish to provide medical marijuana. Banks fall under federal regulation, and experts have said that this could hurt the ability to collect payment and provide for medical marijuana, as businesses such as banks and insurers worry that involvement in the marijuana trade could put their enterprises at risk.

In conjunction with the governor’s announcement came 10 pages of directives from the Department of Financial Services for New York-chartered banks and credit unions considering establishing banking relationships with medical marijuana-related businesses.

“The ability to establish a banking relationship is a challenge that legal industries face unlike no other,” Gov. Cuomo said in a statement. ”As the federal government continues to sow discord surrounding the medical marijuana and industrial hemp businesses, New York has made significant progress in creating a supportive economic development and regulatory landscape for these companies.”



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