New Federal Guidelines for Banks and Legal Marijuana Biz

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration Friday provided new guidelines to the banking industry aimed at making it easier for state-legalized marijuana businesses to have greater access to financial institutions.

In separate advisories issued by the Treasury and Justice departments, the administration’s action follows concerns expressed last month by Attorney General Eric Holder that legal marijuana operations were dealing largely in cash because banks feared that any relationship with the dealers put them at risk of prosecution under existing federal drug and money laundering statutes.

Twenty states and Washington, D.C., have legalized marijuana for medical use. Two of those states — Colorado and Washington — also have legalized marijuana for recreational use.