Last month, Bank of America (BoA) canceled the accounts of the cannabis research firm Scottsdale Research Institute (SRI) without warning or advanced notice.
“SRI conducts FDA-approved controlled trials evaluating cannabis as medicine for treating pain/PTSD in military veterans & terminally ill patients. This TRAGICALLY shuts down our research @BankofAmerica,” Dr. Sue Sisley, Scottsdale Research Institute’s President, said in a tweet.
SRI is a research institute based in Scottsdale, Arizona, and studies the medical efficacy of certain psychedelics and cannabis under a license from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Earlier in the year, Scottsdale Research Institute received preliminary DEA approval to become among the first new cultivators of research-grade cannabis.
In 2019, Dr. Sisley sued the DEA over its obstructions to cannabis research – specifically, the limitations of government-sourced cannabis.
She has spent years challenging federal drug laws in the pursuit of expanded research.
“We have a contract with DEA. We are growing cannabis for FDA clinical trials and selling it to the DEA. It’s unconscionable the way [Bank of America is] behaving — and further proof that the word ‘cannabis’ continues to be completely radioactive even though this is a 100 percent federally legal operation,” Dr. Sisley said in an interview with Marijuana Moment.
Almost all cannabis institutions deal with cash, making them vulnerable to robberies. With global cannabis sales expected to double by 2025, dispensaries will feel more at ease with their finances if there are fewer hurdles to work with banking institutions.
Some institutions, either anticipating inevitable federal legalization or simply seeing the potential for financial gain, are willing to invest in cannabis. While people still enjoy consuming cannabis via artsy glass pipes, cannabis-retail businesses await further legislation regarding the SAFE Banking Act.
For ten years, SRI worked with Bank of America without issue. The bank provided no comment, context, or reasoning for the abrupt cancellation.
Fortunately, there are banks that care about the progress of federally regulated and federally legal research and are eager to step up and support us immediately,” Dr. Sisley said via Marijuana Moment. “We will be moving our funding from Bank of America and never returning there. Our research continues without harm because other banks that care about scientific freedom were able to step up.”