Pepper partners Jay A. Dubow and Alva C. Mather were quoted in the January 18, 2018 Philadelphia Business Journal article, "What Sessions Memo Means for Banking in the Medical Marijuana Industry." Dubow is co-chair of the Cannibis Industry Practice and Securities and Financial Services Enforcement Group. Mather is a partner in the Health Sciences Department and co-chair of the Cannibis Industry Practice.
"It will have a chilling effect on those [banks] considering getting involved," Pepper Hamilton partner Jay Dubow said. "If you were thinking about jumping in a few weeks ago, now you might be more reticent. There could be additional cost and legal risk, so they might think it’s no longer worth the hassle."
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Alva Mather, who co-leads Pepper’s cannabis industry practice with Dubow, said the uncertainty created by Sessions is the issue.
"Are they going to use enforcement power? If so, how?," Mather said. "We don’t know. Despite that, I have not received panic calls from clients. They are in a wait-and-see mode."
In 2014, the Obama administration’s Treasury and Justice departments issued guidance to banks about how to serve the marijuana industry without running afoul of federal regulators. The policy, which requires financial institutions to regularly file reports on their cannabis customers, was supposed to offer clarity and assurances to banks. But Dubow said most banks still refrained, until recently, from business with the cannabis industry because marijuana remained illegal under federal law.
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