The U.S. Department of the Treasury, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) has clearly stated that it will not seek to prosecute banks that are handling money from the legal sale of marijuana if:
- none of the “enforcement priorities” exist, as outlined in the Guidance Regarding Marijuana Enforcement from James M. Cole, Deputy Attorney General, dated August 29, 2013, and the Guidance Regarding Marijuana Related Financial Crimes from James M. Cole, Deputy Attorney General, dated February 14, 2014 (the “Cole Memos”); and
- the marijuana sales are in compliance with state law (See, BSA Expectations Retarding Marijuana-Related Businesses from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, issued February 14, 2014 (the “FinCEN Memo”)).
Nevertheless, banks remain fearful of being shut down for handling cash generated from the sale of marijuana. Why? The answer is because banks have no way of ensuring that every dollar being deposited is coming from the legal sale of marijuana in compliance with state law versus the illegal sale of marijuana either on the black market or from a medical marijuana grower or dispensary that has not complied with state law.
So, what’s the answer? PayQwick is the answer!
PayQwick has built the most robust Bank Secrecy Act and Money Laundering Control Act Compliance Program ever seen. PayQwick’s BSA/AML Compliance Program incorporates all of the safeguards needed to provide banking services to the marijuana industry consistent with the guidelines issued by Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole in the Cole Memos and by U.S. Department of Justice in the FinCEN Memo.
PayQwick also ensures that marijuana businesses comply with state law. In Washington State, for example, PayQwick’s I-502 Compliance Assessment Program involves a detailed, quarterly audit that guarantees the business remains in compliance with state law.
In sum, financial institutions that open bank accounts for marijuana businesses participating in the PayQwick system can rely on PayQwick’s BSA/AML Compliance Program and PayQwick’s I-502 Compliance Assessment Program to ensure that none of the enforcement priorities listed in the Cole Memos are triggered and that none of the “red flags” listed in the FinCEN memo come to pass. To be safe, in fact, banks seeking to open accounts for marijuana businesses should require their customers to participate in the PayQwick system.