Louisiana medical marijuana industry finds tentative bank partners

Louisiana medical marijuana industry finds tentative bank partners

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Buy Now The LSU and Southern University agricultural centers have selected two companies to cultivate and produce non-smokable medical marijuana. With that done, the state’s Pharmacy Board is in the process of choosing medical marijuana pharmacies from applicants in nine regions of the state and will issue a 10th license later in a high-demand region. A handful of small Louisiana financial institutions are quietly moving forward with providing banking services for the state’s medical marijuana industry, tentatively relieving an uncertainty that dispensaries and growers have faced throughout the U.S. The institutions’ decisions come despite compliance headaches involved with banking a business sector that stands at odds with federal law. There also are newfound uncertainties brought on by the Trump administration’s Department of Justice. It has taken a starkly different tack toward the drug than the Obama administration, though President Donald Trump last week appeared to be leaning toward allowing states to make their own decisions on marijuana issues. So far, the banking landscape for the state’s nascent medical marijuana program remains muddy. If the handful of interested banks decide to pull out, the local pharmacies looking for easy ways to handle their cash flows could run into the same problems that dispensaries and growers in places like Colorado and, more recently, Illinois have faced for years. For now, the firms poised to grow and dispense medical marijuana in the state have found financial institutions willing to partner with the industry, based on federal guidance that remains in place. The Louisiana Board of Pharmacy’s rules for marijuana pharmacies require that applicants show proof of a $100,000 line of credit, surety bond or escrow account from a “financial institution headquartered in Louisiana.” In the board’s application review process, it offered 10 points — out of a possible total of 100 — […]

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