We are helping build out another marijuana banking program here in Oregon. My law firm has done a series of these for credit unions (“CU”s) and other financial institutions (“FIs”) going back to 2014. We have also handled a good bit of hemp banking work– mostly in 2019 and 2020 before that industry cratered. In this post, I’ll sketch out some considerations for FIs looking at banking marijuana-related businesses – or, as they are known in the common parlance, “MRBs”. And I apologize in advance for all the acronyms. That’s banking.
The term “MRB” is used pervasively in cannabis banking, yet this term is not defined in the moldering 2014 Financial Crimes Enforcement Network “FinCEN” Guidance. It’s also not defined in the 2020 National Credit Union Administration Guidance on banking hemp-related business (“HRB”s) (which we helped write) or the 2020 FinCEN Guidance on that related topic.
The lone federal definition we have is from a 2018 Small Business Administration (“SBA”) Policy Notice, as revised, which categorizes MRBs as “direct marijuana businesses”, “indirect marijuana businesses”, and “hemp-related businesses.” Here is my shorthand:
“Direct Marijuana Business.” A business that grows, produces, processes, distributes or sells marijuana or marijuana products.