Federal Reserve Official Jumps To Pot Industry

January 12, 2016, 6:20 PM UTC
Legal Cannabis in Washington State
SEATTLE, WA - MARCH 14: An employee advises a client on one of the more than twenty strands available at A Greener Today, a popular cannabis store in Seattle, on March 14, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. An in-store ATM allows clients to retreive cash for transactions. Because federal laws still prohibit the sale of legal cannabis, stores don't have access to the banking system and have to conduct all business in cash, which creates security issues. With legal medical cannabis allowed in over 20 states, and recreational use allowed in two (Colorado and Washington), the legal cannabis market is primed to expand dramatically. Privateer Holdings, a private equity firm that invests only in legal medical and recreational cannabis markets, has already raised over 50 millions dollars from investors, effectively bringing cannabis to Wall Street. (Photo by Gilles Mingasson/Getty Images).
Photograph by Gilles Mingasson—Getty Images

The growing pot industry just gained a useful advocate: a Federal Reserve bank official.

On Tuesday, the legal cannabis-focused private equity firm, Privateer Holdings, announced the appointment of Dante Tosetti, a former examiner at the San Francisco Federal Reserve, to be their director of Treasury compliance.

The appointment comes as the burgeoning cannabis industry struggles to attract banking partners, many of which are scared off by the complex laws governing the drug that is still illegal under federal law. “It’s no secret that banking is one of the legal cannabis industry’s biggest challenges,” Michael Blue, founding partner and Chief Financial Officer of Privateer Holdings, said in a press release. “His hiring is…a reflection of our commitment to operating with the highest standards of compliance while forging new ground in accelerating the development of the cannabis industry globally.”

As the director of Treasury compliance, Tosetti is tasked with encouraging banks to work with companies in the cannabis sector by helping them understand the legal red-tape around it. “My goal is to change the misconception that servicing the cannabis industry is a compliance burden for banks,” Tosetti told The Wall Street Journal’s MoneyBeat.

Tosetti is the second federal employee to be nabbed by Privateer, following former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration investigator Patrick Moen who now serves as the firm’s Managing Director of Compliance and General Counsel.


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