An Annapolis-based community bank has become one of the first financial institutions in the state to allow medical marijuana businesses to open accounts and avoid running cash-only operations.
Severn Bank decided shortly after the state legalized marijuana for medical use in 2013 that the fledgling field of growers, processors and dispensers would need banking services and offered an opportunity. The state’s first dispensaries began opening in December, and Severn now has several business accounts in each industry category.
“This is a start-up, viable industry in the state of Maryland, and they need to bank somewhere,” said Alan J. Hyatt, Severn’s chairman and president, on Wednesday.
Medical marijuana is expected to grow into a multimillion-dollar industry in Maryland in the coming years as it has elsewhere.
In other states that have legalized medical use, the industry has operated on a mostly cash basis because the drug is illegal under federal law. Federal guidelines issued in 2014, however, allow financial institutions to take steps to qualify to offer services in states with legalized use. It is believed that only a small