Financial institutions doing business with marijuana companies have been operating under the close watch of regulators, as marijuana is considered an illegal substance under U.S. federal law. Earlier this year, Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturned policies that allowed states the final say on enforcement if they had systems in place for regulating the drug’s legal uses and sale.

Because paperwork for marijuana companies is so complex, money-laundering and other illegal activities is always a concern, and compliance costs are very high. For most banks, the high amount of regulation deters them from doing business with marijuana companies. However, if Democrats gain control of Congress in November, then banks that already do business with marijuana retailers could see some relief from strict regulations.

Ballard Spahr attorney Peter Hardy said, "The Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network is reviewing its own guidance for financial institutions that work with pot companies." Although processes haven't yet changed, Mr. Hardy added, "the jury is still out. We do know that the Justice Department hasn't aggressively gone after marijuana businesses complying with state laws."

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