Chuck Grassley

United States Senator from Iowa

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FinCEN Responds to Grassley/Feinstein on Guidance to Financial Institutions on Marijuana

May 09, 2014

                WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley made the following statement after receiving a response from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to his inquiry about the guidance it offered financial institutions on providing services to illegal drug traffickers.  Grassley sent the letter along with Senator Dianne Feinstein.

                The senators wrote in their letter to FinCEN Director Jennifer Shasky Calvetry that the guidance that FinCEN recently issued regarding the proceeds of illegal marijuana trafficking “severely undermines the mission of the agency” which is to safeguard the nation’s financial system from illicit use and to combat money laundering.

                The Grassley/Feinstein letter can be found here.  A copy of FinCEN’s response can be found here.

                “Unless federal law is changed, selling marijuana, laundering marijuana proceeds, and aiding and abetting those activities all remain illegal.  FinCEN’s guidance to financial institutions is absolutely contrary to the mission of the agency – it purports to ‘enhance the availability of financial services for … marijuana-related businesses’ – so it’s only logical that FinCEN would now deny the stated purpose of that guidance.  The agency also concedes the obvious – that its guidance does not change federal criminal law, affect its enforcement in any way, and that  there are risks in doing business with the marijuana industry which should give the financial services industry little confidence that it will be protected should an institution be federally prosecuted for getting involved in illegal activities.”