Now that the Department of Justice has announced its new guidelines for providing financial services to cannabis businesses under the Bank Secrecy Act, California banks and marijuana businesses should be good to go, right.

Wrong.

Among other things, the new guidelines require financial institutions both verify “with the appropriate “state authorities whether the business is duly licensed and registered” and review “the license application (and related documentation) submitted by the business for obtaining a state license to operate its marijuana-related business.”

Since California does NOT have a state marijuana licensing system, our cannabis attorneys interpret the new banking rules as not allowing banks to conduct business with cannabis companies based in California. We just don’t see how state authorities in California verify that a marijuana-related business has been duly licensed by the state when the state does not provide any such licensing nor how banks can review the license applications of marijuana-related businesses that obtained a state license when there is no such license.

California right now has pending a bill, AB 604, that would establish a licensing system for medical marijuana in California, but until that or something along those lines becomes law in California, its hodgepodge localized marijuana system is going to continue preventing California from being in the forefront of states making life easier for marijuana businesses.