Smoke and Mirrors - Navigating the Regulatory Landscape in Marijuana Banking
Craig Nazzaro, Partner, Nelson Mullins
An increasing number of states have enacted laws legalizing marijuana for medicinal and recreational use, but federal law continues to prohibit the manufacture, distribution, or dispensing of marijuana. The conflict between state and federal law has created uncertainty for financial institutions looking to offer services to marijuana-related businesses, as well as to landlords, contractors, and other vendors supporting the industry. The regulators have provided little guidance in this area and, while federal legislation seems to be gaining momentum, the prospects of passing laws that address the problem remain uncertain. Anastasia Stull co-leads the Cannabis Law practice at Clark Partington and will present on the current state of the law, due-diligence procedures for financial institutions that are providing or considering providing services to marijuana-related businesses, issues giving rise to litigation, and legislative developments, including practical advice to banks and offer clear, practical steps necessary to prepare for upcoming examinations.
Craig Nazzaro is a member of the firm's Financial Services Regulatory Practice where he advises a variety of entities on all regulatory and compliance issues that impact the financial services industry including banks, non-bank lenders, servicers, investors, third party payment processors, and debt collectors. He also defends clients against charges of liability and regulatory violations. Craig’s prior experience includes serving as a vice president and assistant general counsel with J.P. Morgan Chase, where he managed and coordinated a team of over 20 senior legal officers and attorneys in responding to and resolving consumer lending issues presented by state attorneys generals, Housing and Urban Development, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, state banking departments, and Congressional inquiries. He also served as the Chief Compliance Officer for Chemical Bank, a $23 billion bank headquartered in Michigan from 2018 until 2019 when Chemical Bank merged with TCF National Bank.
Mr. Nazzaro works with a number of industry organizations focusing on financial institutions and regularly speaks on topics involving regulatory compliance for chartered and non-chartered financial institutions, FinTechs, and traditional lenders and payment providers. His speaking engagements have, in particular, focused on changing federal regulation of the money transmission and lending spaces in the post-Dodd Frank environment. The Nelson Mullins Financial Regulatory and FinTech team prides itself on the ability to service the lifecycle of a financial product, The team works with early-stage startups through mature, multi-national clients. This experience spans not only advice on discrete compliance issues but entails a broader platform to assist with product design, growth strategies, and transformation. The team works with established companies on complex regulatory structures and compliance violation response and remediation programs. This work can include wholesale risk assessments and the development or redesign of integrated compliance management systems (CMS).