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What Do I Need to Open a Business Bank Account in the Cannabis Industry?

What You’ll Learn 

  • Get answers to the question: “What do I need to open a business bank account for a cannabis business?”
  • Learn what documents are required in the application so you can be prepared when it’s time to apply for a cannabis business banking account.

As a cannabis business owner, opening a business banking account involves a few more steps than a non-cannabis business would have. Even today, with recreational cannabis legalized in over 20 states, big national banks won’t serve the cannabis industry. It’s too risky for them, and the added compliance burdens are too costly. As a result, cannabis entrepreneurs often must turn to smaller institutions like community banks and credit unions to secure their business banking accounts. In this article, we’ll go over what’s unique about banking services for the cannabis industry, plus what documentation you’ll need when you apply for an account.

How Banking for the Cannabis Industry is Different

If you’re new to the cannabis industry and you are seeking a business banking account, be prepared for stricter compliance controls, longer timeframes, and additional paperwork compared to traditional banking. Why the extra hurdles for the cannabis industry? Because cannabis is still illegal at the federal level and it is highly regulated in the states where it is legal, banks and credit unions that serve the industry follow stricter oversight and due diligence. Luckily, with the right banking team on your side, you’ll have expert guidance navigating the application process.

Experience Matters: Finding the Right Banking Partner

When it comes to cannabis banking, it pays to partner with people who know what they’re doing—not figuring it out as they go along. We’ve seen other financial institutions start cannabis banking programs only to shut them down because of the significant compliance requirements.

Salal has been here since the beginning. Starting in 2014, we have been a national leader in providing financial solutions for licensed and regulated cannabis businesses and their employees. We’ve partnered closely with state regulators to offer cannabis businesses a wide range of dependable banking services. From business checking and savings to cash management solutions to equipment and commercial real estate loans, we take pride in helping cannabis businesses thrive.

Getting Ready to Apply

Now let’s dive into the details. Before you start the business account application process, you’ll want to make sure you have all the required documentation ready to go. Here’s a checklist of what you’ll need:

For All Businesses

  • Business registration(s) as applicable (Secretary of State registration, business license, etc.).
  • IRS SS-4 Letter confirming EIN.
  • Signed business formation documents (clearly detailing governance and ownership):
    • Corporations: Articles of Incorporation, bylaws, meeting minutes electing corporate officers, shareholder register (or similar).
    • LLCs/PLLCs: Operation agreement with member roster.
    • Partnerships: Partnership agreement.
  • For businesses with at least one holding or parent company:
    • All of the above documentation for each holding or parent company.
  • For businesses with three or more holding or parent companies:
    • Organizational chart detailing ownership structure of the applicant business.
  • Copy of government-issued ID for all authorized signers and beneficial owners.*

For All Cannabis-Related Businesses (Including Licensed, Ancillary, and Hemp/CBD-Related Businesses)

In addition to the items listed above, businesses that fall into this category need to also provide:

  • A written summary of business operations, including products and services offered by the business.
  • A written summary of the current and prior experience of the business’s owners and officers.
  • A written summary describing the source of start-up and/or operating funds (Salal may verify).

For All Licensed Cannabis Businesses

In addition to the items listed above, all licensed cannabis businesses also need to provide:

  • Lease detailing terms and approval for cannabis activity on-premises (or proof of property ownership).
  • Applicable cannabis licenses (city, county, state).

We’re Here to Help

Ready to take the next step toward opening a bank account for your cannabis business? The Salal Business Services team is always happy to share more info about the application process, go over the wide range of services we offer, and help you start your application. Connect with a Salal Business Banking Officer at 206.298.9398 or BusinessInquiries@SalalCU.org.


*Beneficial Owners are defined as each individual who owns directly or indirectly 25% or more of the equity interests of the business and; an individual with significant responsibility for managing the business (e.g., CEO, CFO, COO, Managing Member, General Partner, President, etc.).