The ongoing federal ban on marijuana makes financing, banking, and investing difficult. Merrill Lynch sees investment potential and will be relaxing its approach to accepting clients with marijuana-related businesses.
An internal report from Merrill Lynch estimates that medical marijuana is currently a $2.9 billion industry which could double as more states legalize cannabis. The report describes their plans for “streamlining” and adding “flexibility” to onboarding clients.
“In our view, scientific, clinical and anecdotal evidence support medicinal cannabis while recent media attention has contributed to public awareness,” the report states. Merrill said it’s “bullish on the cannabis testing market,” particularly developing new equipment for testing quality and potency.
Even so-called lower-risk clients could be approved without an executive’s consent. “The policy change provides flexibility for clients who have a small part of their overall net worth connected to marijuana-related businesses,” according to the report.
Merrill is a subsidiary of Bank of America.