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Three Cannabis Reform Proposals to Watch in 2022

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By Laura Chambers, Abaca

Cannabis advocates, entrepreneurs, and investors must be resilient, eternal optimists for many reasons – one of them being the annual resurrection of banking reform legislation that passes in the House only to be shot down in the Senate.

Cannabis has been state-legal since California began allowing medical use in 1996, and a majority of states followed suit by 2016. However, over 25 years later, there is still a lack of meaningful reform even though more than two-thirds of Americans support legalization and 97.7% of the population lives somewhere that allows recreational or medicinal use of cannabis (including hemp and CBD). At this point, it appears the issue is not IF cannabis reform legislation should be passed – rather, the issue is HOW it should be drafted.

If you’re a fan of politics and the cannabis industry, you’ve likely heard of several pieces of proposed legislation with an alphabet soup of names. Why are there so many bills? Why can’t any of them seem to pass? Would the president even sign one of these bills into law if it made it to his desk?

We’ve taken the time to answer these questions for the top three proposed bills swirling around Washington, D.C., focusing this digest on the SAFE Banking Act, MORE Act and CAOA.

What is the SAFE Banking Act?

First introduced in 2013 by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act would make significant changes to how financial institutions can serve the cannabis industry if they so choose. Under this proposed legislation, banks and financial institutions that are operating within a state’s legal and regulatory framework would be protected from federal or state prosecution and penalties. Passage of the act would subject account holders to strict Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) requirements to ensure the financial system remains secure.

Why is the SAFE Banking Act needed?

In the absence of the SAFE Banking Act, the cannabis industry is cash-heavy, which poses public safety, fraud and transparency risks. By passing this legislation, cannabis operators would have greater access to financial services, which include services like banking, more loan options, and commercial insurance. It’s also possible retail dispensaries will finally have access to traditional merchant services for credit and debit card processing, though it’s important to note that SAFE Banking simply opens the door to compliant credit card processing, but it does not compel Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover card networks to accept transactions from the cannabis industry. 

According to Rep. Perlmutter, the SAFE Banking Act would “strengthen the security of our financial system and …

Full story available on Benzinga.com

Original Source: benzinga.com

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Congress Under Pressure: Colorado Officials Push for Cannabis Banking Reform

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With the end of Congress’ session just around the corner, marijuana advocates, stakeholders and lawmakers continue to push for marijuana banking policy change.

This time, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) joined forces with Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera (D), Attorney General Phil Weiser (D), Treasurer Dave Young (D) and Department of Public Safety (DPS) Executive Director Stan Hilkey in urging congressional leaders to revisit the issue, reported Marijuana Moment.

In a letter sent on Monday to both House and Senate leaders, Colorado officials focused on the impact which a bipartisan marijuana banking bill will have in terms of public safety and industry equity,

“The lack of safe banking and financial services for the cannabis industry in the State of Colorado has become a dire public safety issue for highly regulated cannabis businesses operating in compliance with state …

Full story available on Benzinga.com

Original Post: benzinga.com

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New Data Shows Weed Legalization a Boon for Real Estate, New Jobs and Tax Revenue

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A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank shed light on the economic impact marijuana legalization has had in recent years, reported Marijuana Moment. Policy changes on the state level have resulted in increased commercial real estate demand, as well as a surge in tax revenues while creating more jobs.

According to an analysis from the Kansas City arm of the Central Bank, which collected data from several states under its jurisdiction, the Tenth Federal Reserve District, the cannabis industry has become one of the main economic sectors positioned to grow substantially in the coming period.

“Overall, the marijuana industry has had a significant effect on the economies of Tenth District states in the initial years after legalization,” the report said. “The emergence of the industry has …

Full story available on Benzinga.com

Article: benzinga.com

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Will Missouri Legalize Cannabis? Amendment 3 Suffers Another Attack This Time by State NAACP

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Cannabis legalization efforts in Missouri are under attack once again, this time by The Missouri State Conference of the NAACP.

What Happened

The Missouri NAACP, breaking with chapters in the St. Louis area is urging its members to vote against Amendment 3 on the Nov. 8 ballot, reported the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch.

The group announced Thursday that it believes recreational marijuana legalization, as it is proposed under Amendment 3, would prevent minorities from entering the cannabis industry. 

“Marijuana possession should not be a constitutional crime. Additionally, for years now, Black people, other minorities, and people who have been criminalized by marijuana laws in the past have been unable to enter the medical marijuana market,” the Missouri NAACP wrote. “That is not right. In an effort to prevent the permanent exclusion of minorities from the cannabis industry in the state of Missouri, the NAACP calls upon every voter to reject the criminalization of marijuana possession, de facto racist regulation of the cannabis market, and the wool being pulled over our eyes by the supporters of Amendment 3.”

Under Amendment 3, the first “comprehensive” cannabis business licenses would be provided to existing medical marijuana companies. 

The state’s chapter highlighted that the amendment “does not increase the number of available full market licenses” and claims that giving “micro” business licenses to disadvantaged groups makes a “very limited” program. 

According to Nimrod “Rod” Chapel Jr., president of the Missouri NAACP, members agreed last week …

Full story available on Benzinga.com

Source: benzinga.com

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