People who want to start manufacturing facilities or “compassion centers” for medical marijuana in North Dakota will have difficulty getting a loan from a bank or credit union – and will also face barriers if they want to deposit money from medical marijuana sales into a bank account.
"Marijuana is still considered an illegal substance, said North Dakota Bankers' Association president Rick Clayburgh.
The federal government still considers it a "schedule one" drug.
"It doesn't matter what the position is in the federal Justice Department, whether it's to be more lenient, or to enforce the law, from the standpoint of federal banking regulators, it is an illegal substance," Clayburgh said. "Our banks are prohibited from doing business with those individuals."
Clayburgh said it doesn’t matter what states have done in legalizing marijuana – it will take an act of Congress to change banking laws, to allow loans and deposits by those who sell it.
"As long as Congress and the federal government does not address the issue from the financial services side, banks and credit unions are prohibited from accepting those deposits and conducting business with those individuals," Clayburgh said.
The state will soon choose two manufacturers and eight "compassion centers" for marijuana.