While to some it may seem that waiting on the federal reserve to change their policy on marijuana banking is a waste of energy, there was a bit of attention given to the issue on Thursday, when the Federal Reserve President of Kansas City, Esther George met with marijuana businessmen to talk about opening up banks and credit unions to businesses within the cannabis industry.
The Federal Reserve representative did not arrive to tell the industry that there is a solution to their problem, just to listen. “No one believed we’d come away from this with a solution,” Colorado’s director of marijuana coordination Andrew Freedman told The Cannabist. “But there were stories in there that showed how this really impacts people’s lives.”
Business owners told George of the hardships involved with operating without a business bank account. One proprietor spoke of being forced to close over a dozen different bank accounts, and another complained that a family member was forced to close an unrelated investment account through false implication.
Strangely, the pending application from the Fourth Corner Credit Union, a business approved by the state of Colorado and set to become the first credit union for marijuana businesses, was not brought up at the meeting. Though the firm was approved at a state level, they require a master account that can only be issued by the Federal Reserve. The reserve not yet reached a decision on the application Fourth Corner submitted last November. Fourth Corner also told The Cannabist that they did not receive an invitation to Thursday’s meetings.
Though no conclusions about the future of marijuana banking were reached, some think the fact that wheels are turning at all is a sign of progress. Taylor West, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, said, “The fact that she took the time to meet … is a significant indicator of how seriously these issues are being taken now. So even if there isn’t immediate action coming out of the meeting, it’s still definitely a positive step forward.”