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Bank of Guam services now available to cannabis businesses on Guam, CNMI

Updated: Feb 21



By Pacific Island Times News Staff

 

Cannabis-related businesses on Guam and the Northern Marianas may now be able to do regular banking transactions, allowing them to operate in the financial mainstream instead of being constrained to a cash-basis operation.


Bank of Guam has launched its banking services for the emerging industry in the territories, becoming the first local financial institution in the region to serve all tiers of cannabis-related businesses.


TASI Bank, a division of Bank of Guam serving the California region, has been engaged with the cannabis industry for over five years, according to BOG.


Starting this month, Bank of Guam will offer deposit and lending services to cannabis-related businesses that are legally licensed on Guam and Saipan, to engage in such business activity.


The Bank of Guam has launched the new services while the proposed

Secure and Fair Enforcement Regulation (SAFER) Banking Act is awaiting a vote in the U.S. Senate.


The SAFER Banking Act seeks to ensure that state-sanctioned cannabis businesses have access to deposit accounts, insurance and other financial services.


Over the last decade, 47 states, four U.S. territories and the District of Columbia have legalized some form of medical or recreational cannabis, which is still classified as an illegal drug under federal law.


Due to the conflict between federal and state laws, many financial institutions remain reluctant to offer services to cannabis-related businesses.


The SAFER Banking Act would resolve these issues by providing a safe harbor for banks, credit unions, other financial institutions, and payment processors that provide services to related businesses.


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The new banking services are accessible to any organization or business that grows, processes, dispenses, administers, or derives income from selling marijuana products.


CRBs include:

  • Direct cannabis-related businesses (Tier 1): Businesses licensed to directly touch the plant. Types of direct CRBs include adult use/medical use, retail, processing, cultivation, dispensaries, seed producers, testing, delivery, and consumption lounges.

  •  Indirect Cannabis-Related Businesses (Tier 2): Includes industry-specific professional services. Types of indirect CRBs include operations support such as attorneys and accountants, landlords, hydroponic suppliers, packaging suppliers, delivery device suppliers, security firms, cannabis consultants, marijuana testing facilities, employment/payroll providers and cannabis software providers.

  • Hemp-related businesses (Tier 3): Businesses licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture or state regulatory agency to grow, test, or otherwise prepare hemp.

  • Cannabidiol business (Tier 3): Businesses engaged in the production or sale of hemp-derived cannabinoids intended for human or animal consumption as regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.


The bank has partnered with Green Check Verified, a cannabis compliance 

company and leading fintech provider for compliant banking solutions. The Green Check Verified platform is completely confidential and allows Bank of Guam to meet the regulatory requirements for banking CRBs. 


The platform allows cannabis clients the ability to share data from their day-to-day business activities, such as sales, inventory, and required licensing documentation.


BOG said it has adopted a comprehensive monitoring program for related businesses that satisfies the appropriate federal guidance and Bank Secrecy Act requirements and safeguards the bank’s stakeholders and community. 


It has always been the mission of our founder to serve the underserved and to provide access to safe and secure banking services to our communities. This now includes our cannabis-related businesses," said Joaquin P. L.G. Cook, the bank's president and CEO.


"As your partner in growth, we are committed to extending our expertise as trusted financial advisors to this new industry and to allow our local cannabis-related businesses who follow the process and play by the rules, a fair

 chance to succeed," he added.






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