Currently, very few banks across the Nation where cannabis is legal will allow the creation of bank accounts for businesses because the federal government still considers the cannabis plant a Schedule I controlled substance.
However, as the cannabis industry has quickly moved forward, Congressional members are being forced to deal with a variety of issues that American cannabis organizations and consumers are demanding. Therefore, after five years from the first introduction of an idea to create safe banking processes for the industry, Congressional members are getting ready to vote for the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act.
The Act is being led by Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley and is scheduled to be voted on and expected to pass on March 26, 2019. If approved, it will be the first step that is desperately needed to secure the safety for people in the business and the billions of dollars that are generated yearly. Although the Act will create some change in the industry, no one knows how the financial institutions will react.
“The Safe Banking Act is not a cure-all for the cannabis banking challenge, and many financial institutions will undoubtedly decide that the industry is still too high-risk for their bank. Nevertheless, the bill will give some added clarity and legal protection,” ABA
Once again Congressional members have not done their jobs thoroughly and have created unsafe work environments, shopping experiences, and created a hazardous situation for business owners. How Congressional members for the past five years could be so ignorant and incompetent about a multi-billion-dollar industry creating 100,000’s positions across the country is beyond my comprehension.
What happens next?
The tipping point has finally come with the enormous growth of both Medical and Recreational Marijuana Legalization in many states. The businesses involved in the cannabis environment has produced 10 billion dollars and 250,000+ jobs in 2018. The future growth of the industry that is expected to grow to $20 billion by 2020 and if legalized nationally the sector could be worth $30 billion. The trend is likely to continue with an enormous increase to $47 billion by 2027.
The expected growth along with many Governors pushing for some banking structure because their states are planning to vote on legalizing some form Marijuana use in 2019 or 2020 has created a dynamic situation.
Hopefully, 2019 will bring some sanity and common sense into the halls of Congress and the cannabis businesses will finally have the freedom to use the American banking system without any fear. However, if 2019 doesn’t create change, every aspect of the cannabis industry will be the middle of the 2020 election cycle. An election that will make politicians face 80 million Millennial voters who approve of both the medical and recreational cannabis usage.