Cannabis Finance

Overview

The manufacture, sale and possession of cannabis is illegal under U.S. federal law, and thus any proceeds from transactions involving cannabis constitute the proceeds of a crime for purposes of federal Anti-Money-Laundering statutes. However, the possession and sale of cannabis is legal in some form in the majority of states and the District of Columbia. Further, Canada has generally legalized cannabis. But the inconsistency of legal treatment raises a great variety of legal and practical issues for entities wishing to invest in or finance cannabis businesses. The most significant of these are related to the anti-money-laundering statutes, which serve to prevent banks and other regulated financial institutions from transacting business with cannabis and cannabis-related entities. See the separate topic page on Anti-Money-Laundering.

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Statutes

  • Federal Crime of Money Laundering
    • 18 USC 1956 (Laundering of monetary instruments)
    • 18 USC 1957 (Engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity)
  • Food and Drugs
    • 21 USC 841 (Prohibited acts)
    • 21 USC 846 (Attempt and conspiracy)
    • 21 USC 858 (Endangering human life while illegally manufacturing controlled substance)
    • 21 USC 959 (Possession, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substance)
  • Tax
    • 26 USC 280E (Expenditures in connection with the illegal sale of drugs)