Month: April 2021

Financial Magazine Barron’s Provides Cannabis Industry Investment Advice

Like various investment sectors and hot trends (GameStop!!!), the cannabis industry has been a wild roller coaster ride for investors. Before there was the GameStop short squeeze saga, there was Tilray. Canadian cannabis companies, thanks to their nation’s wise decision to legalize first, were able to get a jump on the competition, but financial magazine Barron’s has provided tips on investing in the future American market as federal legalization seems inevitable in the United States:

Now, events are breaking in favor of the American operators. On April 19, the House of Representatives passed a bill by a 3-to-1 margin that would allow the pot industry to use the federally regulated banking system. Senate Democratic leaders support a matching bank bill. Meanwhile, Covid-19 has left state governments desperate for tax revenue. New York, Virginia, and New Mexico recently joined the 13 states that have allowed recreational sales to adults. Over time, recreational sales will probably come to the 20 states that now allow sale by prescription. That could spur the remaining state holdouts to fall in line, if federal legalization doesn’t happen first. So, sales can’t help but grow.

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While the stocks of most Canadian producers have fallen sharply in the past two years, the shares of U.S. operators have gained. Upside remains. The market caps of the eight biggest U.S. cannabis companies add up to $33 billion. That’s a reasonable four times the $7.5 billion in aggregate sales that analysts forecast for next year, and 10 times the expected cash flows. The overall U.S. market is several times larger than the leading companies, and market researcher BDS Analytics foresees sales topping $40 billion by 2026. The illicit market is perhaps twice that size. If the history of the alcoholic-beverage industry is any guide, customers will eventually come over to the legal market.

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What makes less sense is the lopsided attention that investors pay to Canadian pot producers, who may be listed in the U.S. but mainly have Canada’s tiny market for their sales. The real action is right under their nose.

As Barron’s noted, the lack of banking access and the 280E IRS tax code have been heavy burdens on the cannabis industry, even more so on small, local craft cannabis boutiques like Kind Leaf, than on wealthy multi-state actors and international corporations. With any investment, it’s buyer beware, but the cannabis industry is even more volatile as the whims of politicians and voters can change, but it certainly looks like the future is bright. While the time could be now to invest, it’s definitely a good time to start doing your homework if investing in domestic U.S. companies intrigues you.

Whether you choose to invest in cannabis stocks or not, it’s always a good time to invest in your own happiness and the local economy by supporting Kind Leaf in beautiful Pendleton. At Eastern Oregon’s premier craft cannabis boutique, you get to choose from the best selection in the Great Northwest and you know that your hard-earned dollars stay in the Beaver State to promote the local economy and fund important services, including much-needed drug treatment and recovery programs. This week’s specials, while supplies last, include 30% off Charvak, Zurple Punch and Platinum Cookies flower. For extracts, there’s 30% off Self Made Shatter, East Fork Cultivar PAX Pod Cherry Wine. If edibles are more your speed, then you can enjoy 30% off Mr. Moxey’s Ginger 5:1 Mints, Golden Fruit Chew Blast Lemon Ginger, Magic Soda, and Muru Cannamixer.

Automatically Release Cannabis Prisoners and Expunge Criminal Records

Ending cannabis prohibition is a transformational policy that ends thousands upon thousands of arrests while generating millions upon millions of dollars. Lives are drastically improved as nonviolent, law-abiding citizens no longer have their educational, employment, and housing opportunities stripped from them. And more people have access to a safe medicine that can help alleviate their condition, and for some, could even be life-saving. But more still needs to be done after legalizing cannabis, starting with broader criminal justice implications. First and foremost, everyone in prison for cannabis should be released from prison and all criminal records shoulds be expunged automatically. This shouldn’t be controversial, but it’s not easy to accomplish.

Following the passage of Oregon Measure 91 in 2014, one of my favorite stories that emerged was of a man who had tears of joy after he was able to expunge a felony that had followed him his entire life. While I am still extremely happy that Oregonians can remove criminal convictions that they previously couldn’t, we didn’t go far enough. Clearing your criminal history shouldn’t depend upon the ability to pay an attorney, filing fees, and jumping through hurdles. Cannabis is legal now, signifying that it was a mistake to criminalize it in the first place. People shouldn’t have their lives hindered forever because the law was an error. They are grappling with this very issue in Virginia, one of the most recent states to end prohibition, as NBC Channel 12 reported:

Marijuana will soon be legal in the commonwealth starting July 1, but that does not mean those jailed for marijuana-related offenses will get out right away.

While the new legislation takes effect July 1, people will not have marijuana-related charges cleared from their records right off the bat, especially if they are more serious.

“I’m pretty sure that the expungement of past convictions is going to take a while to put into effect,” Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Hingeley said.

Noah Strike, a columnist for the The Cavalier Daily, rightly took the state to task:

The General Assembly’s move to legalize recreational marijuana and create a regulated market for it in the Commonwealth is undeniably a good thing. Governor Northam’s commitment to social justice in legalization is exactly what Virginia needs in our contemporary period. But it is impossible to legalize marijuana under the banner of social justice without accounting for and actively addressing the historical harm American drug policies have caused. It is impossible to fulfill our goal of racial justice without freeing those incarcerated for past marijuana offenses.

Legalizing personal possession and regulating cannabis commerce is only a part of the battle to implementing sensible and sound legalization policies. There’s a lot of work to be done after cannabis is legal. Let’s start with ending the ridiculous notion that people should have job and housing opportunities denied because the state made the mistake of criminalizing cannabis in the first place.

Texas Cannabis and Psychedelics Legislation Advancing Along

Step by step, state by state, we are making progress against Reefer Madness prohibition and the failed Drug War overall. While West Coast states and others with the initiative process have led the way in positive reforms, it’s imperative that we continue to make progress all across the nation and in states where legislatures are the only recourse to improving our laws. As more people become educated about the benefits of cannabis legalization and other drug policy reforms, it’s only a matter of time before dedicated, hardworking advocates win important victories across our nation. Each state just adds more ammunition to our battle of ideas in the halls of Congress, as well as more political allies willing to cast important votes, such as implementing the SAFE Banking Act and ending federal prohibition altogether. Everything is bigger in Texas, so any positive reforms secured in the Lone Star State will reverberate throughout the land. As Marijuana Moment reported, there are some important developments taking place:

The Texas House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a bill to reduce penalties for possession of marijuana concentrates—and lawmakers separately advanced legislation to require studies on the therapeutic potential of certain psychedelics for military veterans.

The cannabis concentrates measure would make it so possession of up to two ounces of those products would be downgraded to a class B misdemeanor. The bill cleared the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee earlier this month, and now it’s been approved on second reading in the full chamber, with a final vote to send it to the Senate expected as early as Wednesday.

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Meanwhile, the psychedelics research legislation from Rep. Alex Dominguez (D) passed in the House Public Health Committee on Monday. The panel approved amendment that includes changes limiting the scope of the state-funded study to focus on military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), rather than a broader list of conditions attached to the initial bill.

Reducing criminal penalties associated with cannabis possession is obviously a step in the right direction while the  psychedelics legislation could be a real game changer. The Texas psychedelics proposal require the state to study the medical risks and benefits of psilocybin, MDMA and ketamine for veterans while mandating a clinical trial into psilocybin for veterans battling post-traumatic stress. Helping veterans that have sacrificed so much for our nation is the least that we can do and demonstrating success treating PTSD will surely open the doors for further research and important policy changes throughout the United States.

Oregonians, Just Say NO to House Bill 2265

The sausage making that goes on at legislatures is often not for the faint of heart. What can be introduced as one bill can be bait and switched on folks with very little time to understand the true implications of the bill. Unfortunately, House Bill 2265 is one such bill this 2021 legislative session and this bait and switch will be harmful to many current medical cannabis patients who most probably have no idea that their medicinal cannabis gardens will be impacted and that they may lose access to their medicine altogether. House Bill 2265, introduced by Representative John Lively, used to merely state that:

“The Oregon Liquor Control Commission shall study cannabis in this state.
The commission shall report its findings and recommendations to an interim committee of
the Legislative Assembly related to economic development no later than December 31, 2021.”

Now, thanks to an amendment, House Bill 2265 does much more than just study cannabis, it now moves enforcement of registering medical cannabis gardens from the Oregon Health Authority to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. Here’s the description of the amendment that actually passed the General Government Committee by the Legislative Policy and Research Office:

“Replaces the measure. Directs OLCC to establish by rule a medical marijuana grow site registration process.
Defines medical marijuana grow site as a location where marijuana is produced for registry identification
cardholders, but not including marijuana grow sites registered by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). Specifies
criteria for OLCC registration and for the transfer of marijuana; sets grow site production limits; establishes civil
penalties for violations; and establishes OLCC registration deadlines. Allows OLCC to adopt by reference applicable
OHA rules. Limits a person designated to produce marijuana by a registry identification cardholder under an OHA
grow site registration to grow for no more than two cardholders. Allows the OHA to renew marijuana grow site
registrations issued by the authority until June 1, 2022, clarifying that beginning September 1, 2021, the authority
may not issue registration to a grow site that produces marijuana for more than two registry identification
cardholders. Requires the OLCC to receive applications for grow site registrations no later than June 1, 2022 for
sites previously registered under OHA or producing marijuana for three or more registry identification
cardholders. Declares emergency, effective on passage.”

Just a few problems with the bill. First, just the concept of moving Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) regulation from the OHA to the OLCC goes against what the voters intended when passing Measure 91 as the legalization law clearly stated that the OMMP should not be infringed upon by ending prohibition for all adults. The next concern is moving private medical information from the OHA to the OLCC. I’ve had my issues with OHA’s regulation of the OMMP over the years, but at least they are experienced with protecting private medical information. I’ve praised and criticized the OLCC when deserved, but the agency doesn’t have the same experience and expertise protecting private medical information as OHA. Additionally, the HB 2265 allows the OLCC to revoke registration from OMMP applicants who are “insolvent or incompetent or physically unable to carry on the management of the
medical marijuana grow site” and “in the habit of using alcoholic liquor, habit-forming drugs, marijuana or controlled
substances to excess”. These powers to strip licensure may be relevant to the billion-dollar adult-use market, but not for small medical cannabis gardens. Finally, the OLCC has a lot on its plate and it is going to cost money and resources to move OMMP regulation from one government body to another. This bill is simply not needed.

There are more issues with the bill and I urge folks to stay up-to-date with Compassionate Oregon, the state’s leading medical cannabis advocates that are doing the heavy lifting to defeat House Bill 2265 and protect and improve the OMMP every legislative session. There are only about 20,000 OMMP patients remaining and the OLCC-regulated cannabis industry is bringing in more money and generating more revenue than ever expected, there’s no reason to add more hurdles for patients battling severe and debilitating medical conditions and their providers. Oregonians, please contact your state legislators and the House Ways and Means Committee to let them know that they should vote NO on House Bill 2265. Also, contact Governor Kate Brown, and let her know that you do NOT support this bill as well.

Kind Leaf provides 15% discounts to all OMMP patients. There are always discounts for senior citizens and military veterans as well. You can order online with Leafly Pickup or come peruse the best selection in the Great Northwest.

Featured photo credit: Darrin Harris Frisby/Drug Policy Alliance

Fivethirtyeight: Americans Want to Legalize Cannabis, Why Won’t Uncle Sam Listen?

Poll after poll, electoral victory after electoral victory, and cultural advancement after advancement, it’s clear that a supermajority of Americans want to end cannabis prohibition. It’s been maddening for many longtime drug policy reformers that elected officials across the nation and in Washington, DC, haven’t followed the will of the voters. Public opinion has gotten to such a high watermark that mainstream political observers have taken notice, including Fivethirtyeight.com which takes on why the federal government won’t legalize marijuana when voters from across the political spectrum want to:

“For starters, not all Senate Democrats back Schumer’s plan, and Senate Republicans have yet to show any support for legalization. Additionally, while legalizing marijuana is popular, it isn’t a top priority for many voters. That may be, in part, due to the success of legalization efforts at the state level. More than one in three Americans live in states where marijuana is already legal for recreational use, and a sizable majority live in states where marijuana is legal for medical use. For those who already have access to the drug, it may not matter whether it’s their state government or the federal government making that allowance. Finally, as my colleague Perry Bacon Jr. pointed out earlier this year, electoral politics are increasingly disconnected from policy, meaning that despite the popularity of marijuana legalization, there may simply not be a ton of electoral benefit for Biden for taking up the issue.

“Still, if the polling is any indication, legalizing marijuana is hugely popular, and Biden may yet change his mind, depending on how the politics of the bill play out. And if he does, he may even get some brownie points from Republican voters who support legalization. But if things start to get politically messy, Biden may not have a lot to lose by passing on championing this particular issue.”

With nonpartisan popular support, the US House passing legalization and the SAFE Banking Act, and the Senate Majority Leader supporting legalization, we are on the precipice of ending federal prohibition. However, the corporate interests and prison-industrial complex that have benefited from Reefer Madness policies, won’t give up power easily. We’re gonna have to fight even harder to secure the votes in the Senate and a presidential signature. With the truth and the people on our side, freedom and equality for the cannabis community is within reach. Let’s keep it up.

Psychedelic Scientists Decry Drug War Obstacles at Psilocybin Research Event

The War on Drugs causes so much unnecessary heartache and pain, from unnecessary arrests to exorbitant taxes that prevent hardworking mom-and-pop entrepreneurs from achieving their American Dream. The unnecessary obstacles stifling medical research is one of the many ills of the Drug War, preventing people from saving and improving their lives with safe medical options. The cannabis community knows all too well the ridiculous barriers put in place whenever researchers attempt to study federal Schedule I substances. Now, with psychedelic research following in the footsteps of cannabis, scientists are facing similar nonsensical hurdles that needlessly delay the ability to find safe medicines just waiting to be unlocked. As Marijuana Moment reported, prominent scientists decried these outdated Drug War obstacles at the inaugural Psilocybin Research Speaker Series event hosted by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), under the National Institutes of Health (NIH), on April 22nd:

A federal health agency kicked off a speaker series on Thursday that’s dedicated to recapping science on the therapeutic potential of psilocybin mushrooms. And the experts who spoke at the first event said in response to Marijuana Moment’s questions that federal drug laws are out of step with voters and undermine the research objectives of the scientific community.

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Asked by Marijuana Moment about whether the scheduling status of psilocybin under federal law inhibits research into the compound’s risk and benefits, Dr. Roland Griffiths of Johns Hopkins University said that the “Schedule I status is anathema to research because it makes research much more difficult—and that’s both clinical research and even preclinical research.”

“Even a preclinical neurological researcher, if they want to work with a Schedule I compound, they still have to jump through all the hurdles and create a [Drug Enforcement Administration] license and track their substance in a way that’s really quite discouraging of research,” he said. “I wish there were an easier workaround for Schedule I compounds and research generally, but as the laws are currently written, there isn’t a workaround.”

The National Cancer Institute has this to say about psilocybin and the current status of federal law and ongoing research:

“Psilocybin is the natural active compound found in more than 200 species of fungi, more commonly referred to as ‘magic mushrooms.’ Psilocybin is converted by the body to psilocin, which has hallucinogenic mind-altering properties. These naturally occurring mushrooms have been used anthropologically worldwide by indigenous cultures for centuries in the context of religious or spiritual healing ceremonies. Psilocybin is currently a Schedule I substance under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Schedule 1 classification defines chemicals or substances that, currently, have no accepted medical use and have a high potential for abuse. Advances in clinical trials, however, are researching psilocybin to treat cancer related depression, for example, and moreover for its potential medicinal application in treating a range of severe psychiatric disorders, such as: major depressive disorder, treatment resistant depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, opioid use disorder and other substance use disorders, as well as anorexia. To date, FDA granted two breakthrough therapy designations for psilocybin, one for treatment resistant depression in 2018, and a second for major depressive disorder in 2019.”

This is a fascinating time for drug policy activism, from legalizing cannabis to harnessing the healing properties of natural substances that have been wrongly criminalized. It’s great to seen Oregon, with the passage of Measure 109, helping lead the way.

If we can safely help people we should explore those avenues and let science be the guide, not decades of propaganda and misinformation. Too many of our citizens are suffering, whether they are veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress or everyday Americans combating PTSD or depression themselves. It’s great to see our nation take steps towards a sane drug policy and this federally-funded Psilocybin Research Speaker Series is a nice step in the right direction. There are more panels on May 27th and June 4th, 7th, and 10th covering a variety of topics including microdosing, group therapy, psychotherapy for cancer-related psychiatric distress, and more. You can see the full agenda and register here.

Even though 4/20 is behind us, there are still plenty of great deals at Kind Leaf to help uplift your mood. As always, senior citizens, military veterans, and OMMP patients qualify for discounts. Free online ordering through Leafly pickup for convenience or come on into Eastern Oregon’s premier craft cannabis boutique.

The NFL Wisely Started Allowing Players to Utilize Cannabis (on 4/20, of course)

In the cannabis community’s fight for freedom and equality, the cultural battle is a very important component as every victory for common sense leads us closer to our ultimate goal. In America, sports are an integral part of society and changing the culture in sports causes ripples that flow into the business world and throughout various aspects of American life. The National Football League (NFL) is the biggest sports league in America, with its Super Bowl becoming an unofficial holiday, even celebrated by those that aren’t usual fans. Fittingly, the NFL started its new cannabis testing policy on 4/20, also an unofficial American holiday that’s even gotten commemorated by the Senate Majority Leader and throughout the Halls of Congress.

Under the NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement, as the Boston Globe’s Senior NFL writer Ben Volin reported, players can start using cannabis on 4/20 and until the beginning of training camp (August 9th) with no repruccessions. There will be one drug test for all players that tests for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid, an inactive chemical that can confirm cannabis use, between the start of training camp and the first preseason game. The players will know when the test is and if they test negative, that will be their only such test all year. Further, the new agreement eliminate automatic suspensions for a simple positive test, but players can be fined and disciplined further for failing to cooperate with the testing and clinical procedures.

As, the New York Daily News reported, this policy change is a reflection of Reefer Madness fading away in our society:

The league acquiesced last offseason to a severe relaxation of its policy on marijuana, mirroring states’ legalization efforts and a general shift in the nation’s attitude toward the drug.

This is one of the givebacks in the name of player health and safety that the NFL Players’ Association acquired in exchange for agreeing to an extra regular season game and less than a 50-50 revenue split.

Many NFL players and athletes view marijuana as a safer medicine for treating or alleviating pain, compared to opioids and prescription drugs.

Additionally, the threshold for failing the THC test was increased more than four times, from 35 ng/ml to 150 ng/ml. According to the Mayo Clinic the presence of 100 ng/mL indicates relatively recent use, probably within the past 7 days while levels greater than 500 ng/mL suggest chronic and recent use. Mayo notes that chronic use causes accumulation of THC such that it is excreted into the urine for as long as 30 to 60 days from the time chronic use is halted. Cannabis connoisseurs in the NFL will want to plan accordingly since they will know when their test will be conducted.

This is a great step in the right direction for the NFL. Football is a violent sport that forces too many players to utilize too many pain pills that are extremely addictive and could be deadly. Cannabis is simply a safer alternative that can improve the lives of players. Congratulations to the players for forcing the league to adapt with the times and our scientific knowledge. And congratulations to the cannabis community at large, whether a football fan or not, as we notched another important win this 4/20. Touchdown dances are in order.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Hopes to End Cannabis Prohibition by 4/20/22

Hope everyone had a good holiday celebration. There were certainly plenty of reasons for the cannabis community to celebrate yesterday and to continue celebrating as we have been making tremendous progress in our fight for freedom, all across the nation and the globe. It’s a relatively slow and steady political and cultural battle, but it’s easy to see that the momentum is on our side as even our opponents have started to concede ground, claiming that they now support decriminalization.

It’s a real untenable situation for Reefer Madness prohibitionists who find themselves on the fringe, as less than 10% of Americans want cannabis to remain completely illegal. In a huge sign of our progress, the SAFE Banking Act passed the House on Monday by a whopping 321-101 margin. And then on the cannabis community’s sacred day, New York Senator Chuck Schumer took to the Senate floor on 4/20 to announce his hope that federal prohibition has been swept into the dustbin of history where it belongs by 4/20/22, as CNBC reported:

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday reiterated his call to legalize marijuana at the federal level, saying he hopes to see an end to the drug’s prohibition by next year’s 4/20.

“Hopefully, the next time this unofficial holiday, 4/20, rolls around, our country will have made progress in addressing the massive overcriminalization of marijuana in a meaningful and comprehensive way,” Schumer said on the floor of the upper chamber.

Schumer said the nation’s war on drugs has “too often been a war on people, particularly people of color.” “I believe the time has come to end the federal prohibition on marijuana in this country, and I’m working with Sens. Booker and Wyden on legislation to do just that,” he said.

There’s never been a better time to be a drug policy reform activist and we are so close to the promised land. It was heartening to see all of my federal representatives, Congressman Earl Blumenauer and Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley all make 4/20 statements about working to legalize cannabis for all adults. It’s been a rather remarkable ride for the cannabis community, we just need to continue working hard and smart, step by step, state by state. It helps to have the truth on our side because eventually, it shall set us all free.

There are always great deals at Kind Leaf to continue celebrating the cannabis community and how far we’ve come. You can conveniently use Leafly Pick-Up or just come on into Eastern Oregon’s premier craft cannabis boutique at 1733 SW Court Ave. in beautiful Pendleton. Discounts available for senior citizens, military veterans, and OMMP patients.

Celebrate the 4/20 Holiday with Great Deals at Kind Leaf!

Everybody knows that April 20th is a special holiday for the cannabis community and there is certainly a lot to celebrate this year. Since 4/20 last year, Arizona, New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana, New Mexico, Virginia, and New York have all voted to end prohibition. The latest Gallup Poll revealed that 68% of Americans believe that marijuana should be legal, an all-time high since the polling firm found that only 12% felt the same back in 1969. The most recent Pew Research Poll revealed that over 90% of Americans believe that cannabis should be legal for either adult-use or medicinal purposes, and the SAFE Banking Act passed the United States House of Representatives by a whopping 321-101 margin. The banking bill, an extremely important piece of legislation for the cannabis industry, now moves onto the Senate with a lot of bipartisan momentum. With tons to celebrate, there are no better places to stock up than Kind Leaf, Eastern Oregon’s premier craft cannabis boutique.

Pendleton’s Kind Leaf is always the best shop for cannabis connoisseurs and novices alike, but the 4/20 deals are especially epic. This year there are too many amazing deals to even list them all, but to name just a few: 30% off Oregrown and Willamette Valley Alchemy products; 40% off of Green Bodhi, Fox Hollow Flora, and 7 Points Oregon top shelf flower; 40% off of Select Elite and Live Resin; 20% off Grön Chocolates, Mule Extract Gummies, and Happy Kitchen Edibles; 30% off of Exotic Blends and Blues Brothers; 40% off of fire & Jane and Loyal Oil Co. products; and $50 ounces of flower will be available! And just in time, Nathan Apodaca AKA the one and only Doggface that cheered up the world by vibing on his skateboard, is making his introduction into the Oregon market. All while supplies last, so don’t be a late slacker.

There are a lot of dispensaries to choose from in beautiful Oregon, but at Kind Leaf you know that you are choosing from the very best selection in the Great Northwest and that you are supporting a local business that gives back to the local community. You can order online at Leafly and conveniently pick up your products. Or just come on in and the knowledgeable, friendly staff will be happy to assist you. There are always great deals and discounts for military veterans, senior citizens, and OMMP patients. Thank you for the support and have an amazing, and safe, holiday celebration.

The American Bankers Association Urges Congress to Pass the SAFE Banking Act

The bipartisan Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (SAFE Banking Act) of 2021 is expected to get a vote today in the United States House of Representatives, a big development for the cannabis industry and the first step towards finally implementing a sensible federal cannabis policy. State-regulated cannabis businesses are severely hindered from a lack of access to bank accounts and other normal financial services. The extra burden especially hurts small businesses, complicates business relations with vendors, and creates a safety risk for staff, customers, and the local neighborhood. The cannabis industry got a big boost today, with the American Bankers Association urging Congress to pass the SAFE Banking Act, writing:

Since 1996, voters across the country have determined that it is appropriate to allow their citizens to use cannabis for medical purposes and, since 2012, for adult use. Currently, 36 states have legalized cannabis for medical or adult use and that number continues to grow. Nevertheless, current federal law prevents banks from safely banking cannabis businesses, as well as the ancillary businesses that provide them with goods and services.

As a result, a majority of states are struggling to address the significant challenges to public safety, as well as regulatory and tax compliance that go hand-in-hand with businesses forced to operate in an all-cash environment. Providing a mechanism for the cannabis industry to access the banking system would help those communities reduce cash-motivated crimes, increase the efficiency of tax collections, and improve the financial transparency of the cannabis industry. Since bank accounts are monitored in accordance with existing anti-money laundering and Bank Secrecy Act requirements, bringing cannabis-related legitimate businesses into the mainstream banking sector would also help law enforcement to identify suspicious transactions – an opportunity that is not available in an all-cash environment.

The ABA was joined by 51 state banking associations, who in a separate letter penned, noting that the “SAFE Banking Act is a banking-specific bipartisan solution that would address the reality of the current marketplace.” No matter anyone’s stance on cannabis legalization, and the ABA noted that they are neutral on the issue, they should support the SAFE Banking Act. Denying cannabis companies access to bank accounts leads unnecessary complications and danger for our local communities. Hopefully the House passes the common-sense legislation overwhelmingly and the Senate follows suit.

UPDATE: The SAFE Banking Act passed!!!