Louisiana leader seeks 'harbor' for marijuana industry banks

Sep 4, 2018

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's top banking regulator has joined colleagues in a dozen other states asking Congress to clear the way for banks to do business with the marijuana industry.

The Advocate reports that John Ducrest, commissioner of the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions, was one of 13 state financial regulators signing a letter to congressional leaders in late August seeking "safe harbor" legislation for banks.

The marijuana industry has struggled to find financial institutions willing to handle its cash and has seen one participant back out in Louisiana, which has a burgeoning medical marijuana program.

The group, led by Pennsylvania's top financial official, urged federal lawmakers to remove "unnecessary risk" for banks working with the marijuana industry.

Marijuana is legal in some form in 31 states, but remains illegal under federal law.