Please note our new address: 900 S. Lapeer Rd., Oxford, MI 48371

DIFS Must Give Banks Guidance On Pot Business Under Budget

Michigan Cannabis IndustryThe state must issue guidance to banks and other financial institutions about how to handle the money of marijuana-related businesses, under boilerplate language pending in the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) budget.

The direction is seen as encouraging from one marijuana industry group to help address the issue of marijuana businesses finding it hard to bank, which is attributed to pot’s classification as a prohibited Schedule I drug at the federal level. That’s created the logistical and safety issue of a growing industry being conducted in mostly cash.

“It’s very much appreciated that the legislature is doing its part to ensure Michigan’s licensed cannabis businesses have access to the same financial institutions as other legal business,” said Josh HOVEY, spokesperson for the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association (MCIA). “Hopefully, the guidance DIFS offers next year will encourage more banks to open their doors to our industry.”

However, Hovey said the legalization of marijuana at the federal level “would be even more helpful.” He said the U.S. House this week passed the SAFE Banking Act, legislation designed to protect banks and credit unions from penalties if they accept deposits from cannabis-related businesses (See “Will Legalized Pot Generate Lots Of Cash? Bank On It,” 5/14/19).

Patricia HERNDON, executive vice president of government relations for the Michigan Bankers Association (MBA), said banks are regulated at the federal level. Rescinding of the so-called “Cole memo” by the federal government under President Donald TRUMP removed “protections for financial institutions with regard to what is considered federal money laundering of funds from state legal, federally illegal cannabis transactions,” she said.

So while Herndon said banks welcome any sort of governmental guidance when it comes to doing business with cannabis, she thinks it will be difficult for a state regulator to draft guidance on marijuana businesses, specifically.

The language in SB 0141 specifically requires DIFS, by Jan. 1, 2020, to “draft and issue an examination manual and letter of guidance” to state-chartered financial institutions that choose to provide banking and financial services to marijuana-related businesses.

DIFS spokesperson Andrea MILLER said the department was not involved in the drafting of this boilerplate language and said it was added “during the end stage of the budget process.”

Photo by Get Budding on Unsplash

salute our soldiers

DCD was happy to sponsor the annual Salute to Warriors event at the home of Sam Kassab, President of Guardian Angels Home Health Care.

Hundreds of individuals joined in the festivities to support our Michigan Veterans!  It was a wonderful night honoring two Veterans, one from the Gulf War and one from WWII.  Attendees were able to enjoy the changing of the flag, wonderful food and deserts and quality time with our great veterans.

SALUTE OUR WARRIORS, was held on Thursday, July 11th, 2019. Many elected officials, business and community leaders were in attendance.  All the donations raised support the Fallen and Wounded Soldiers Fund that is for Michigan service members who serve & protect our country.

Additionally, the fund helps others see the good our service men and women do through their accomplishments and the sacrifices they make on our behalf. They are a non-profit, non-partisan 501(c) (3) organization. Their members do not receive any financial compensation for their efforts.

FWSF is all volunteer effort, with everyone working from the kindness of their hearts and dedicated to supporting our armed forces. They are honored to help families with their expenses, to visit their injured loved ones in hospitals as well as supporting handicapped victims, and the spouses and children of those fallen soldiers.