Bank bows out of medical marijuana business

Local News

ILLINOIS (WCIA) — The state’s medical marijuana industry just hit a big bump in the road. Its largest banking partner is pulling out, leaving many businesses with uncertain futures.

The Bank of Springfield has alerted all its marijuana-based customers it’s no longer taking their money. The decision comes after the Trump Administration stripped away protections for legal marijuana sales nationwide.

It’s unclear what it means for businesses moving forward. The worst-case scenario is a business might have to use cash to stay open and it can be difficult paying employees or paying taxes.

Most importantly, keeping a business secured is a very real problem when dealing with cash. Bank of Springfield informed its customers in January this could happen. It recently issued a letter confirming it was pulling out.

It was one of the first banks in the state to begin accepting money from marijuana businesses and has a large share of clients across the state.

A bank spokesperson says it was too big of a risk to continue transactions. Leaders blame the decision on Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ reversal of Obama-era protections.

Still, some in the industry say they’re remaining optimistic. The medical marijuana industry has brought millions to the state’s economy since 2015.

Officials at the Department of Public Health don’t believe it will impact the state’s revenue if the trend continues. Industry insiders agree, but believe it could be a difficult transition for smaller businesses.

The bank gave customers until May to find a new bank. It also released the following statement:

This decision was not made lightly. With the confusion and uncertainty coming out of Washington D.C., the most prudent decision is to take a step back and wait and see what policies Congress and our President decide to pursue.

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