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U.S. Bank Regulators: Hemp growers aren’t always ‘suspicious’

Four federal agencies and state bank regulators said Tuesday that banks are no longer required to file suspicious activity reports for customers solely because they’re growing and cultivating hemp.

The statement was issued by the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, FinCEN, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors.

It clarified the legal status of hemp growth and production and requirements under the Bank Secrecy Act for banks providing services to hemp-related businesses.

Banks are no longer required to file suspicious activity reports (SARs) for customers solely because they’re engaged in the growth or cultivation of hemp “in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.” But banks are still required to follow standard SAR procedures “if indicia of suspicious activity warrants,” the statement said.

Under current federal rules, hemp can now be grown with a valid USDA-issued license or under a USDA-approved state or tribal plan.

The 2018 Farm Bill signed by President Trump removed hemp from the controlled substance list.

States themselves can still outlaw hemp growing, according to Tuesday’s statement.

Marijuana (as opposed to hemp) remains a controlled substance under federal law. The Controlled Substances Act makes it illegal to manufacture, distribute, or dispense marijuana.

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