In the United States, cannabis businesses operate in a very gray area. Many cannabis businesses in states across the U.S. are operating within the regulations and compliance of their state laws. Unfortunately, any business related to cannabis that isn’t industrial hemp is still considered highly illegal at the federal level. For this reason nearly all cannabis-related businesses especially those that touch the plant directly have to operate as cash-only companies. This is because banks throughout the U.S. are FDIC banks. Seeing how most cannabis businesses are operating illegally on the federal level it causes great hesitation with banks.
This, however, could soon be changing. According to sources that are familiar with the matter, the House Financial Services Committee is planning a hearing. A hearing specifically regarding banking for the cannabis sector next week. Sources believe that it will be on Wednesday, February 13th. However, nothing is on the calendar as a formality as of yet. According to a source of Marijuana Moment, a “full committee markup on legislation that will inevitably clear the way for cannabis businesses access to banking” should be expected in the coming months.
Democrats to Discuss Cannabis Banking Conundrum
For many years Republican leaders of the committee have blocked any progress in this area. It seems though that the newly-founded democratically held committee has different plans. The Financial Services Committee chairwoman Maxine Waters from California stated that “it’s inevitable we are going to have to talk about it” regarding the cannabis banking issue shortly after midterm elections.
The move by this committee to have a hearing regarding the issue that cannabis businesses face when it comes to banking could be a result of a memo that was received by party leaders last fall. In October representative Earl Blumenauer who has been a strong political advocate for cannabis over the years released a proposed guideline for how Democrats could take steps to legalize cannabis on the federal level this year.
The Suggestions of a Pro-Cannabis Politician
One of the suggestions in that document was that committees such as the Financial Services Committee should hold hearings to address issues such as veterans access, research, and you guessed it banking. Specifically, however, this document suggested that these committees have these hearings between January and March which would put this meeting right on schedule.
If committees start voting on cannabis reform bills by April, it could very well mean that Democrats have heard the cries of cannabis patients and advocates and are heeding the advice of Representative Blumenauer.
Could this be one of the first steps towards finally ending the prohibition of cannabis at the federal level? Only time will tell. By next week though, we should know if this is indeed something being discussed by our Representatives. Are you a cannabis entrepreneur or business owner? Have you faced adversity and issues firsthand when it comes to banking? If so give us a shout out on social media (@roottie420) and let us know about your experiences!