Bank of ND won't provide banking services for medical or recreational marijuana

Jul 23, 2018

The Bank of North Dakota remains the only state-owned bank in the US.

And Bank President Eric Hardmeyer said he still gets contacts from other states and political subdivisions about it.

"They ask how it works and why it works," Hardmeyer said.

Hardmeyer said what’s driving it is the growing number of states that have legalized either medical or recereational marijuana. Hardmeyer said states are now trying to deal with revenues coming in from this cash-only business.

"Banks are subject to regulatory issues that preclude them from operating within that industry, because it is still a controlled substance," Hardmeyer said. "They're looking at work-arounds to do that, and one of them is a publicly-owned bank."

Hardmeyer said publicly-owned banks would not necessarily be regulated at the federal level.

The Bank was asked to look at ways it could help with the medical marijuana industry. But Hardmeyer said the Bank decided it was not a good idea.

"We looked at the risk associated with it, and decided the risk at this point would be too great," Hardmeyer said.

Hardmeyer said Congress needs to step in and pass laws concerning medical marijuana.