A Green Wave: State Marijuana Initiatives Create Compliance Challenges for Financial Institutions and Impetus for Possible Federal Action

10 November 2020
View Debevoise In Depth
Key takeaways:
  • Voters in red states and blue states displayed unity on few issues, but among these cannabis ranks high: New Jersey, Arizona, Montana and South Dakota voted to legalize recreational cannabis, and Mississippi and South Dakota voted to legalize use of medical marijuana.
  • These state-level actions will present additional compliance challenges for financial institutions that already struggle with the conflict posed by divergent state and federal laws.
  • A Biden administration may be more likely to support a more targeted approach to federal enforcement of drug laws against those involved in the marijuana industry, and the 117th Congress may face increased pressure to address these matters in the new year.