The US Treasury Department is proposing to start collecting data on the marijuana business from banks – along with industries it already tracks such as liquor stores, convenience stores, casinos and car dealers – as part of its ongoing efforts to combat money laundering.
In another sign that the federal government is gradually recognizing the legitimacy of legalizing the cannabis market in a growing number of states, the Treasury’s Financial Controller (OCC) Treasury Department released a statement in the federal registry on Wednesday saying it plans to track business with marijuana as part of an annual risk summary form (RSF) to be submitted by financial institutions.
RSF collects data on various products, services, customers and geographical areas (PSCs), the statement said, adding that the agency intends to start collecting data from banks on “marijuana-related businesses” for the first time, in addition to other emerging markets, such as crypto assets and ATM operators.
The OCC said its money laundering risk system “improves the ability of inspectors and bank management to identify and assess” risks that are “related to banks’ products, services, customers and locations”.
With the advent of new products and services, “banks’ assessment of the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing must also evolve.” Therefore, by making these changes in the data collection process, the Agency stated that it would be better able to “identify those institutions and areas in institutions that may pose an increased risk and allocate research resources accordingly.”
The period for public discussion of the proposed changes is open until August 8.
It is not immediately clear how the information collected in the risk summary form is analyzed or disseminated by the OCC after it has been sent by banks, but the new report says the data allows the agency to “better identify those institutions and areas in the region.” institutions that may pose an increased risk and allocate research resources accordingly. “
Information on the number of financial institutions working with cannabis-related companies is already reported through suspicious activity reports (SARs), which banks and credit unions are required to submit under existing guidelines, and the Financial Crimes Network of the Ministry of Finance. Finance (FinCEN) publishes these data publicly on a quarterly basis.
The number of banks reporting marijuana business rose again by the end of 2021, according to the latest FinCEN report.
While Congress worked to improve legislation to lift the federal cannabis ban and reform banking policies related to the marijuana industry, the government tacitly acknowledged and normalized its existence despite the fact that cannabis remains a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act.
For example, the U.S. Census Bureau announced last year that it would begin collecting data on the revenue that states generate from legal marijuana.
The move – to add the cannabis issue to states’ annual reports – is based on a separate notice released last year by the federal agency, which said it would include data on cannabis taxes at the state level in its quarterly reports.
Meanwhile, in 2021, the U.S. Economic Classification Policy Committee, which consists of the White House Office of Management and Budget, the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, has recommended a policy change to includes the cannabis business as an official designation in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), which is used to categorize and collect employment and industry data on industries in the United States, Mexico, and Canada.
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