Cannabis legalization has created thousands upon thousands of jobs, generating billions of revenue overall, and putting millions into states’ bank accounts. While the overall numbers look great and the future is bright, there are entirely too many many obstacles blocking the industry from truly flourishing. The hurdles placed in front of cannabis businesses hurt small businesses and mom and pops the most, as big corporations have the deep pockets to wait for better policies to be enacted.
One of the first obstacles that needs to be knocked down is our nation’s current banking regulations that prevent regular access to banking services. The federal government just released guidance for the hemp industry, mandating that banks treat hemp companies the same as any other business. This move should be a stepping stone for Uncle Sam to move onto sensible banking regulations for all cannabis businesses.
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden has been a leader on hemp, and KTVZ reported on his reaction to news:
“Hemp was legalized almost a year ago, yet Oregon farmers and producers have been forced to ride the roller coaster of uncertainty,” Wyden said. “Slowly but surely, federal regulators are starting to catch up, and these new banking guidelines are an important step toward giving hemp businesses the certainty they need.
“The work doesn’t stop here, however, and more must be done to make sure hemp businesses are treated fairly and allowed to fully realize this legal crop’s economic potential in our state and nationwide.”
Earlier this year, Wyden and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote several federal banking and financial regulatory institutions, requesting timely guidance and clarification to ensure lawful hemp farmers and producers in Oregon and nationwide have access to financial services.
Cannabis and hemp policies will likely always be intertwined in some ways. One good step forward for hemp often provides momentum for more progress for the cannabis industry and vice versa. Hopefully, the federal government will get on the ride side of cannabis banking. The SAFE Banking Act is awaiting the United States Senate to do the right thing. Tick tock, senators.