AG: Success of cannabis, digital assets industries hinge on banks’ acceptance

AG: Success of cannabis, digital assets industries hinge on banks’ acceptance
Attorney General Ryan Pinder.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Attorney General Ryan Pinder yesterday said that banks need to demonstrate less resistance to the digital asset and cannabis industries, noting that they play a key role in the survivability of those industries.

Pinder spoke with Eyewitness News on the sidelines of the Association of International Bank and Trust Companies (AIBT) Nassau Conference.

He said: “While these are new industries, they are areas where there is enhanced regulation.

“If you look at the three areas of digital assets, cannabis and carbon credits, all have a regulatory framework in law that would substantiate and verify the industry itself. I know that a lot of the banks have issues with their correspondent banks and their willingness to allow them to accept deposits and participate. I understand that it’s not only a government or  Central Bank function.

“Still, more pressure has to be placed on the correspondent banks and banks in general to be vehicles for participation in these industries. The fact of the matter is that the banks will have to participate for these industries to grow and survive.”

Pinder noted that while major players in the digital assets spaces like FTX can “use their muscle” to get the necessary banking relationships, smaller entrants could face significant challenges.

“We need a more unified approach on this. I note that Prime Minister Mia Mottley is in the US speaking to the Financial Committee of Congress about correspondent banking and I support her intervention here.

“I have spoken to heads of compliance of major correspondent banks in the US who have written in to give their positions and some options on how the correspondent banking environment can be more facilitative in our region. I think that there are some good ideas being put forward.

“We just cannot allow good ideas to take 20 years to come to fruition. You absolutely need the backstop of a banking environment to participate in these industries,” said Pinder.

The Davis administration has repeatedly expressed intentions to legalize the cannabis industry in The Bahamas.

Prime Minister Philip Davis has also said his administration aims to develop The Bahamas into “the leading digital assets hub in the Caribbean”.