The Week Of: September 30, 2019
This week’s news and stories of interest to the AML community
The Cannabis Bill, Not Yet a Law
Last week, the SAFE Banking Act was passed by the House of Representatives. The bill provides assurance to banks that they will not be punished by the federal government for doing business with marijuana related businesses (MRBs). However, as Schoolhouse Rock taught us, the bill does not become law until passed by the Senate and signed by the President.
The Trump administration has not signaled its intention either way and it is unknown if the President will sign the bill if it passes the Republican-controlled Senate. President Trump’s first attorney general, Jeff Sessions, opposed marijuana legalization and issued a reversal of the Cole Memorandum, which provided guidance for prosecutors that would ease marijuana-related criminal enforcement. Current AG William Barr said in April that he preferred Congress “enact legislation allowing states to legalize marijuana instead of continuing the current approach.”
Though the business of banking with marijuana-related companies is growing, U.S. financial institutions continue to grapple with competing regulations regarding marijuana—still an outlawed Schedule 1 drug on the federal level, yet legal for medicinal and/or recreational use in several states.
Until a law is passed that protects them from facing criminal charges many financial institutions will continue to stay on the sidelines when it comes to banking with MRBs.
Read “House Passes Cannabis Banking Bill” at MarketWatch.
High Stakes for Financial Institutions: Trends in MRBs
We recently hosted a webinar about what banks should consider as they consider banking marijuana-related businesses. You can listen to its recording:
Other News This Week
- FinCEN has both new requirements and new recommendations to consider. First, the House passed legislation requiring FinCEN to study emerging technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence and how they may help in the fight against financial crimes. And this week, the Government Accountability Office issued suggested means for the bureau to address inconsistently communicated metrics.
Read more about the “Advancing Innovation to Assist Law Enforcement Act,” from TokenPost
And “GAO offers Recommendations on FinCEN Efficacy” from Financial Regulation News.
- EU finance ministers will soon discuss a new solution to prevent money laundering in banks and crypto. This article by Reuters details the the option they’re most likely considering.
- The Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering and terrorism monitoring body, MONEYVAL, released its annual report for 2018 where it stated that “swift” action was needed by countries and territories in Europe against increased AML risks. The report also highlighted the negative consequences of “de-risking” by banks. Read more details – and get a copy of the full report – from Council of Europe.