Industry News Roundup – February
A collection of some of the biggest stories from the cannabis industry this month.
A Changing House Holds Hearings on Banking Challenges of Cannabis
On February 13th, the United States House of Representatives held its first hearing on banking services for the cannabis industry.
Currently, many cannabis growers and sellers can’t access financial services like opening a bank account or credit card. While legal at the state level, federally backed banks are afraid of facing repercussions from the federal government, which still considers cannabis illegal. That leaves entrepreneurs in over 33 states in a precarious position, having to do business with vast amounts of cash.
Prior to the hearing, a bipartisan group of lawmakers shared a draft bill that would shield banks from being penalized by federal financial regulators and affirm that profits from cannabis-related transactions “shall not be considered as proceeds from an unlawful activity.” The SAFE Banking Act was written over six years ago, but has since been updated and will be formally introduced later this month.
Yesterday’s initial discussion included a long list of witnesses and heart-felt appeals.
Representative Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, one of the bill’s cosponsors, said, “Prohibition is over. American voters have spoken, and continue to speak, and the fact is you can’t put the genie back in the bottle.”
Glad to see @CalTreasurer @fionama as one of the witnesses in today’s @FSCDems hearing on access to banking services for cannabis-related businesses. Legal #cannabis is here to stay & entrepreneurs & consumers deserve safe banking options. Watch LIVE here: https://t.co/KfPk9zVpaE
— Rep. Ted Lieu (@RepTedLieu) February 13, 2019
Perhaps, though, Andrew DeAngelo, co-founder and general manager of Harborside, one of California’s first medical dispensaries, summed it up best.
“Let the free market do what it does, man. We are talking about goods and services, and that’s what cannabis is. I get that Pelosi has lots of fish she has to put in the fryer, and I wouldn’t expect us to be at the top of the list. But to be at the bottom and locked in a closet with a chain around it and a big sign on it, I don’t appreciate either.”
We’ll be watching as Congress continues to discuss the future of banking in Cannabis.
Here’s What Else We’re Reading:
1. Barneys New York aims to light up the marijuana market with its own posh pot boutique called The High End – Marketwatch
2. New York City’s health department started to crackdown on restaurants and cafes that are serving CBD to customers. DOH spokespeople say cannabidiol hasn’t been deemed safe as a food additive – The Atlantic
3. Maryland is considering a bill that would make it the fourth state to explicitly legalize the use of marijuana to treat opioid abuse disorder – Washington Post
4. Nearly two-thirds of medical marijuana use is for chronic pain, according to a new study from Health Affairs. Multiple sclerosis, nausea caused by chemotherapy and PTSD are the other most common uses – Reuters
5. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that a key component of Turkey’s economic plan will be the growth and production of cannabis. Turkey and Israel are the only Middle East countries participating in the cannabis industry – Jerusalem Post
6. Cannabis Chocolates and infused massage oils were predicted to be big cannabis gifts this Valentine’s Day this year- Headset
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