By SERGE F. KOVALESKI FEB. 14, 2014
The Obama administration on Friday issued guidelines intended to give banks confidence that they will not be punished if they provide services to legitimate marijuana businesses in states that have legalized the medical or recreational use of the drug, even though it remains illicit under federal law.
The guidance, which requires banks to vigorously monitor their marijuana-industry customers, was provided by the Treasury Department and the Justice Department in separate advisories. The policy does not grant immunity from prosecution or civil penalties to banks that serve legal marijuana businesses. But it directs prosecutors and regulators to give priority to cases only where financial institutions have failed to adhere to the guidance.
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