Bank of America to be Cannabis Banker for Washington State through 2014

Another step forward for Washington State as Bank of America agrees to continue being the state’s banker, including accepting deposits from cannabis businesses. From KOMO News in Seattle:

The state’s current banker has already agreed to it, according to the state treasurer, who says despite federal restrictions Washington shouldn’t face reprisals for banking and spending the revenue that is coming soon from pot taxes and fees.

“I’m not too worried about it,” Treasurer Jim McIntire said. “It’s actually one of the advantages of having Bank of America as your contractor. It’s unlikely, I think, that the federal government would raid them. . And they’re big enough to look out for themselves on this.”

Bank of America’s contract with Washington State runs out on June 30, 2014, and so the state is accepting bids for competing banks who are willing to accept funds from recreational cannabis businesses. In the meantime, the Treasurer’s office is working with Bank of America to ensure compliance with laws and regulations.

Bank of America is confident, the treasurer’s office says. After all, Washington taxpayers may be breaking all sorts of laws, and that doesn’t deter the bank from taking their tax money when state government deposits it.

Its bankers have “checked this out with their compliance department and they don’t see it as any different than say, medical marijuana or any other activity,” Assistant Treasurer Wolfgang Opitz said.