Some key lawmakers and legalization advocates argue that passing cannabis banking reform before justice-focused federal legalization is going to exclusively benefit large companies—but a group of small marijuana business owners isn’t buying it, and they’re making the case that the incremental policy change could actually help support social equity efforts. The U.S. Cannabis Council (USCC) hosted several black marijuana entrepreneurs at an event titled “UNSAFE Banking & Cannabis: The Real-Life Impact on Public Safety and Social Equity” on Thursday. Participants responded to concerns expressed by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and others who’ve resisted advancing legislation that simply protects banks that work with state-legal marijuana businesses while broader justice-focused legalization is still pending. Steven Hawkins, CEO of USCC, said that while stakeholders are cognizant of the concerns Booker and others have raised, the current lack of banking access for cannabis business is “creating a redlining effect” that’s allowing the largest multi-state operators in the industry to overcome financial hurdles while shutting out smaller companies, particularly those run by people from communities most impacted by cannabis criminalization. “We are still forced with the harsh reality that we are denied access to basic financial services,” he said. “That has posed a significant threat to public safety—as businesses around the country have faced threats because of having to deal, specifically, with cash.”

Kyle Jaeger, Marijuana Moment, 10/29/2021 08:36:00

Open article: