- Bipartisan group pushes for banking protection for cannabis businesses.
- Cannabis industry struggles despite 39 states legalizing its use.
- U.S. cannabis sales forecasted to hit $33.6 billion by end of 2023.
In a groundbreaking move last Wednesday, the Senate took a step closer to allowing the marijuana sector access to much-needed banking services. The "Secure and Fair Enforcement Regulation Banking Act", crafted by a mix of both Republican and Democratic senators, looks to shield banks that cater to legal marijuana businesses from potential legal repercussions. Committee chairman Sen. Sherrod Brown emphasized that this bill, regardless of one’s views on marijuana legalization, is vital for the safety and operation of legal cannabis businesses.
While a staggering 39 states have already given the green light to marijuana for various uses, the industry's growth has been curbed. Why? Primarily because marijuana is still seen in the federal books as a high-risk substance, making banks wary of dealing with cannabis businesses. This puts these businesses in a tough spot, often dealing only in cash, which opens doors to potential theft and other criminal activities.
Adding to the excitement, by the close of 2023, combined sales for medical and recreational marijuana across the U.S. are projected to skyrocket to an impressive $33.6 billion. And while the Senate's recent vote was historic, this isn't the first time such a bill has been tabled. An older sibling of this bill, the SAFE Banking Act, made it past the House seven times but always stumbled in the Senate. With the political landscape's ever-changing nature, the bill's future remains unpredictable, especially if it's tossed to the GOP-controlled House.
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