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Credit union confirms plans to do business with marijuana companies

Wright-Patt Credit Union confirmed Monday that the company will offer what it called “limited banking services” to legally licensed medical marijuana businesses.

The Dayton Daily News first reported in January 2018 that the credit union was offering to do business with state-approved growers in the emerging industry.

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“After thorough due diligence, Wright-Patt Credit Union’s (WPCU) board of directors has authorized the credit union to offer limited banking services to qualified, licensed and legally-operating businesses involved in medical marijuana,” the credit union said in a statement released Monday.

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The credit union said it made the decision after consulting with state regulators such as the Ohio Division of Financial Institutions, the Department of Commerce and elected state officials.

Ohio House Bill 523, effective in September 2016, legalized medical marijuana use in Ohio by patients with 21 conditions, including cancer or chronic pain. The program is currently being implemented, the credit union noted.

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In January, in response to questions from this news outlet, credit union spokeswoman Tracy Szarzi-Fors said the credit union was “still evaluating” whether to get into marijuana-related banking. The Ohio Department of Commerce, one of the government arms overseeing Ohio’s fledgling industry, contacted the credit union and asked if if it wanted to get involved, Szarzi-Fors said at the time.

Nationally, there are more than 300 financial institutions offering banking services to medical marijuana-related businesses, Wright-Patt Credit Union said.

“Without banking services, these businesses would be forced to operate on an all-cash basis, which can result in community safety issues and criminal activity,” the business added. “In addition, WPCU believes that legally-operating businesses in Ohio have a right to banking services.”

“By offering banking services to medical marijuana companies operating legally in Ohio, Wright-Patt Credit Union is contributing to the health and safety of our communities by allowing money to be accounted for and taxed,” Doug Fecher, president and chief executive of the credit union, said in the announcement. “Offering banking services also aligns with Wright-Patt Credit Union’s commitment to support underserved businesses.”

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