Merrill Lynch Weighs in On Marijuana Industry; Fourth Corner Credit Union Fights in Court

Photo Credit: Michael Gray

Banks seem to be anxiously waiting for the American judicial system to legalize marijuana. Just before the New Year, and investment report by Merrill Lynch Wealth Management estimated that the medical marijuana industry is worth $2.9 billion nationwide. The report was conservative, yet optimistic as it pointed out that despite the potentially conflicting legislative issues, there is great potential for market disruption.

Earlier this year in Colorado, Fourth Corner, the first marijuana-focused banking institution, was denied connection to the Fed’s financial oversight system. The Fed’s argument was that marijuana is still federally illegal.  Fourth Corner attorney, Mark Mason, made a compelling argument, however, stating that banking is essential to the development of the marijuana industry, and claiming that it is irresponsible to have millions of dollars on the street “where bad things can happen.” It seems that the banks and the industry both see the potential for good things to happen. Now we just have to wait on the Fed.

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