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.
The Oregon cannabis industry has created thousands of jobs and generated millions of dollars for the state, including more than $100 million brought in from tax revenue last year alone. Great progress has been made, but much more still needs to be done, so it was great to see Oregon Senator Ron Wyden tour Grön Cannabis Confections, an Oregon-based company that makes both THC and CBD infused chocolates. (Kind Leaf carries Grön, so come on in and get your holiday season started right.)
From the great reporting over at Marijuana Moment:
The senator has long championed both the marijuana and hemp markets and has continued to advocate for regulations that promote growth in those sectors. For example, prior to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) release of an interim final rule for hemp last week, he and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wrote a letter to the department urging them to expeditiously implement regulations.
When it comes to firms like Grön, “what we have are companies that want to use hemp as a supplement or additive,” Wyden told Portland Business Journal, referring to the need for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop regulations for hemp-derived CBD to be used in supplements and food products.
“Mitch McConnell and I have been trying to get the FDA to speed up its timetable. They originally wrote five years or something,” he said. “We need the federal government with respect to the kind of companies that I’ve just been at, to lay out an official policy of enforcement discretion.”
While it is relative, I and other Oregon political activists may quibble a bit in stating that Senator Wyden “has long championed both the marijuana and hemp markets,” he has certainly come around to the right side of history and has become a strong leader for important federal reforms. Wyden has joined his fellow Oregonian in leading the bipartisan effort to allow cannabis businesses access to banking services.
We all need to do our part in helping the cannabis industry succeed, including shopping at local mom and pops. Ensuring that we elect officials that genuinely care about our growing industry and are working to implement important reforms is a crucial element in ensuring that cannabis entrepreneurs, including mom-and-pop shops like Kind Leaf, can survive and thrive in this competitive market.