North Bay Credit Union takes rare step of opening business accounts for cannabis operators

About three years ago, Mara Gordon deposited money from an investor into a business bank account for her company, Calla Spring Wellness, that she started to provide guidance for people with health problems interested in adding cannabis to their medical treatment.

Cannabis was merely mentioned on the firm’s website, but the deposit triggered an inspection by Citibank’s compliance department to review transactions for evidence of possible money laundering and other illegal activity. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law and because most banks are insured by the federal government, those cannabis businesses following state laws still are scrutinized like drug slingers with black market cash.

“They did the governance and shut down all of our accounts, including my personal account that I’ve had since 1992,” Gordon said. “They were going to make me

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