Missouri Enacts New Laws Impacting Cannabis Sector Background Checks

Nationwide, the cannabis industry has grown exponentially over the last five to ten years. What once seemed like a slow-moving shift towards medical marijuana has given way to full recreational legalization in some states, including Missouri. This change has given rise to many challenges, such as deciding regulations for cannabis sector background checks and more. One big problem has remained, however: marijuana remains illegal at the federal level.

For businesses operating in state markets where cannabis is ostensibly legal, this creates a whole host of challenges—being cut off from the traditional banking architecture. That exclusion has led to a host of unforeseen problems and issues that have complicated legalization in some states. In Missouri, a new law aims to address both sides of the challenge. What's important to know?

Background Checks Expanding to All Missouri Cannabis Workers

The most notable change in Missouri law will expand background checks for cannabis companies to all employees, not only some classes. All employees and even contractors to cannabis firms will need to undergo an FBI fingerprint-based background check before hiring. Previously, only business owners had to go through such a check. This will also allow the state to share the results of its investigations and inspections with banks based in Missouri to expand access to services for the cannabis sector.

Why Does the Cannabis Industry Struggle With Banking?

Because of the federal status of marijuana, many banks are reluctant to work with cannabis companies due to the risk of regulatory action. However, by complying with certain guidelines such as those Missouri has enacted, banks can provide services to companies with more legal "cover" than before. Previously, banks had to conduct extensive, expensive investigations on their own — the state will now provide that information instead.

Expanding banking to cannabis companies is a critical effort in the fight to reduce crime and make the legal marijuana industry safer. Without regular banking services, many companies resorted to cash-only transactions. Naturally, that makes them a serious target for thieves and other criminals. The hope is that the future of Missouri's industry will be safer and more functional.

Building a Compliant Business for the Future

The cannabis industry is here to stay — that much is certain. What its future at a federal level will be like remains to be seen. De-scheduling marijuana could take years, and changes to federal banking regulations could take as long or longer. For now, the issue remains in the hands of the states.

With Missouri seeking to expand cannabis sector background checks, operators in this space should review their policies and procedures to make updates accordingly. Going above and beyond the requirement to use an FBI background check may also be wise, as you can identify potential record matches from a larger pool of information. Will other states follow suit on these efforts? Watch this space for the latest updates on nationwide cannabis and background check policy changes.

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Michael Klazema

About Michael Klazema The author

Michael Klazema is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based backgroundchecks.com with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments

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