Attorney General Eric Holder says the Obama administration is planning to roll out regulations soon that would allow banks to do business with legal marijuana sellers.
During an appearance Thursday at the University of Virginia, Holder said it is important from a law enforcement perspective to enable places that sell marijuana to have access to the banking system so they don't have large amounts of cash lying around.
Currently, processing money from marijuana sales puts federally insured banks at risk of drug racketeering charges.
Because of the threat of criminal prosecution, financial institutions often refuse to let marijuana-related businesses open accounts.
The issue has taken on some urgency now that Colorado and Washington have become the first states to legalize recreational use of marijuana.