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Banks cautiously enter cannabis finance realm

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Cannabusiness is at constant risk due to the failure of the Feds to solve the problems of bank access to Reagan-era reform.

Marijuana companies are still banned from accessing banking services by the federal government, and some banks have always regularly banned customers without a direct connection to cannabis as an excessive precaution.

However, more than 700 banks and credit unions have submitted documents to the U.S. government, acknowledging that they have some relationship with licensed cannabis companies, according to quarterly data provided by the U.S. Federal Treasury Department. .

Federal data are not expected to include companies providing First Amendment services to the cannabis industry, thanks to the decision of the Court of Appeal Conant v.

Bank bailout snagged at federal policy

A plan to free banks to work with legal and licensed companies has been tied to national politics for years, with the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives repeatedly undergoing reforms, only to see more in the dominated U.S. Senate. by the Republicans.

When Democrats took control of the Senate in 2020, they promised to give relief to cannabusiness, but were instead bogged down by a decision to make the measure part of a major legalization bill instead of passing it as a reform. unique.

Ironically, it is one of the most friendly American cannabis senators, Cory Booker (D-NJ) who has linked the bill because he fears it will pass without including social equity and other reforms that are included in the larger package.

Bank access has shrunk and expanded over the years

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The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws contributed to this report.

The total is a growth from the first quarter of 2021, but remains timid of the totals reported in the first quarter of 2020. In total, the agency has identified 553 banks (about 11 percent of all banks in the United States). United States) and 202 credit unions (approximately). 4 percent of all U.S. credit unions) that “actively provide banking services to marijuana-related businesses.”

Federal law discourages banks and other financial institutions from maintaining relationships with marijuana companies because the plant remains classified as a Schedule I controlled substance.

On six occasions, members of the U.S. House of Representatives have passed legislation, the SAFE Banking Act, to explicitly allow banks and other institutions to engage in relationships with marijuana companies without facing federal law. Members of the House did so last month, attaching the measure as an amendment to the America COMPETES Act of 2022. The act is currently awaiting action by the United States Senate.

According to a survey compiled earlier this year by Whitney Economics, more than 70 percent of participating cannabis companies said the “lack of access to bank or investment capital” is due to so main challenge. In contrast, only 42 percent of respondents cited “state regulation” as the most significant burden for the industry, and only 39 percent cited “the influence of the illicit market.”

Additional information on the SAFE Banking Act is available from NORML.

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