Banks and credit unions in California plan to participate in a new working group that will focus on the cannabis industry's lack of access to the mainstream financial system, according to state officials.
State Treasurer John Chiang is forming the group ahead of what could be heightened tensions between the federal government and states where marijuana is legal.
California voters legalized the recreational use of pot on Nov. 8. Meanwhile, President-elect Donald Trump's attorney general-designate, Sen. Jeff Sessions, is a staunch opponent of marijuana.
Because pot is illegal under federal law, most U.S. banks were wary of marijuana businesses even under the Obama administration, which sought to turn down the heat between the federal government and the states.
The California Bankers Association, the California Community Banking Network and the Credit Union League of California are among the organizations that will participate in the new working group, according to a fact sheet released by the treasurer's office.
Last week, Chiang sent a letter to Trump asking for guidance on the direction the federal government will take on the marijuana issue during his administration.
Chiang noted that commercialization of recreational cannabis does not take effect until Jan. 1, 2018, and stated: "We have a year to develop a system that works in California and which addresses the many issues that exist as a result of the federal-state legal conflict. Uncertainty about the position of your administration creates even more of a challenge."
California's working group, which will include representatives from various state agencies as well as from the pot industry, is scheduled to hold an organizational meeting on Dec. 19.