The Treasury Department wants to start collecting corporate data on marijuana to help fight money laundering

The U.S. Department of the Treasury proposes to begin collecting data on marijuana activities from banks, along with industries it already monitors such as liquor stores, convenience stores, casinos, and auto dealerships, as part of its ongoing efforts to combat marijuana activities. money laundry.

In another sign that the federal government is gradually recognizing the legitimacy of the cannabis market being legalized in a growing number of states, the Treasury’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) published a notice in the federal register on Wednesday. stating that it plans to track marijuana assets as part of an annual risk summary (RSF) form to be submitted by financial institutions.

“RSF collects data on different products, services, customers and geographic areas (PSCs),” the notice said, adding that the agency intends to start collecting data from banks on “marijuana-related activities” for the first time, as well as other emerging interest markets such as cryptocurrencies and ATM operators.

OCC said its money laundering risk system “improves the ability of examiners and bank management to identify and assess” risks “associated with banks’ products, services, customers and positions.”

With the emergence of new products and services, “banks’ assessment of the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing should also evolve”. Therefore, by making these changes to the data collection process, the agency said it will be able to “better identify those institutions and areas within the institutions that may carry the greatest risk and allocate examination resources accordingly.”

A public comment period on proposed changes is open until 8 August.

It is not immediately clear how the information gathered on the risk summary form is analyzed or disseminated by the OCC after being submitted by the banks, but the new notice states that the data allows the agency to “better identify those institutions and areas to the internal institutions that could risk heightened and allocate examination resources accordingly.

Information on the number of financial institutions working with cannabis-related activities is already reported through the suspicious activity reports (SARs) that banks and credit unions are required to submit under existing guidelines and the network for the Treasury Financial Crimes Application (FinCEN) publishes such data on a quarterly basis.

The number of banks reporting working with marijuana companies increased again towards the end of 2021, according to the most recent FinCEN report.

As Congress works to advance legislation to end the federal ban on cannabis and reform banking policies relating to the marijuana industry, the government has tacitly recognized and normalized its existence despite the fact that cannabis remains a Table drug. I in accordance with the Controlled Substances Act.

For example, the US Census Bureau announced last year that it would begin collecting and compiling data on the revenue that states generate from legal marijuana.

The move – to add a cannabis question to annual reports submitted by states – is based on a separate notice released last year by the federal agency explaining that it would incorporate state-level cannabis tax data into its quarterly reports.

Meanwhile, in 2021 the U.S. Economic Classification Policy Committee, which includes the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, recommended a policy change to include cannabis businesses as an official designation business in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), which is used to classify and compile employment and market data on sectors in the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

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