Bank of Montreal and Toronto-Dominion Bank are emerging as the banks of choice for Canada’s burgeoning marijuana industry, even as some lenders shun the sector.
With less than a year to go before Canada plans to legalize recreational pot in July, and 16 years after making it legal for medical use, Bank of Montreal and Toronto-Dominion are providing business accounts to at least 21 cannabis companies, according to interviews with 45 firms tied to the drug. Alterna Savings and Credit Union Ltd. is top among co-operative lenders.
Canadian banks are warming to an industry avoided by banks in the U.S., where marijuana is outlawed federally. Most U.S. banks have refused to do business with pot companies to avoid accusations of money laundering and other criminal violations that could bring jail time.