What is the 2014 "FinCEN Marijuana Banking Guidance"?
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network -- also generally referred to as "FinCEN" -- is a unit of the US Department of Treasury whose mission is to "safeguard the financial system from illicit use, combat money laundering and its related crimes including terrorism, and promote national security through the strategic use of financial authorities and the collection, analysis, and dissemination of financial intelligence." Generally, FinCEN is tasked with enforcing anti-money laundering laws and regulations in the USA.
On February 14, 2014, FinCEN issued its "BSA Expectations Regarding Marijuana-Related Businesses", with the stated goal:
to clarify Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) expectations for financial institutions seeking to provide services to marijuana-related businesses. FinCEN is issuing this guidance in light of recent state initiatives to legalize certain marijuana-related activity and related guidance by the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) concerning marijuana-related enforcement priorities. This FinCEN guidance clarifies how financial institutions can provide services to marijuana-related businesses consistent with their BSA obligations, and aligns the information provided by financial institutions in BSA reports with federal and state law enforcement priorities. This FinCEN guidance should enhance the availability of financial services for, and the financial transparency of, marijuana-related businesses.
A copy of the full FinCEN guidance can be found here.
Of particular note -- and as the partial basis for the formation of CRB Monitor:
- In 2014, FinCEN does NOT clearly define "Marijuana-Related Business", which left a definitional and procedural confusion, if not hole, in most banks' marijuana-related policies and procedures.
- defining and categorizing "Marijuana-Related Businesses" aka "MRBs" into the widely-accepted Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3 risk-based framework / taxonomy (for further information, see Defining Marijuana-Related Businesses)
- building the most comprehensive corporate intelligence platform on the marijuana industry