In America today there is a green revolution occurring that is all plant-powered and sustainable.
I’m speaking of cannabis, of course; a plant once thought to be merely an intoxicant for the more chill of us, that has grown into an economic powerhouse in the locales that have embraced it.
We all know the success stories from Colorado after they became the first state in the nation to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, with massive tax surpluses, a steep decline in opioid-related health issues, and an empowering boost to small and local businesses.
In some of these places, however, the legal ramifications of legalization are being stymied by archaic and antiquated federal guidelines.
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California is looking to change that.
The California Senate on Tuesday approved legislation to create state-chartered cannabis banks to help the industry get around restrictions on access to banking services.
Under the state legislation, which was approved by a vote of 35 to 1, private banks or credit unions can apply for a limited-purpose state charter so they can provide depository services to licensed cannabis businesses. The measure, Senate Bill 51, still requires approval of the Assembly and California Gov. Gavin Newsom to become law.
The reason for this bill is yet another case of the federal government’s stranglehold on the nation.
Marijuana businesses, including pot shops, are forced to deal predominantly in cash due to continued federal banking restrictions that make it nearly impossible for them to have bank accounts with federally chartered financial institutions. Passage in the nation’s most populous state could add pressure on the U.S. Congress to legalize banking for the marijuana industry.
Advocates for the cannabis industry in California have taken to a familiar analogy to make their point, particularly as it pertains to the leisurely among them.
“It’s hard to imagine an industry that at this point is as large as, like, craft beer that does not have banking as we have come to know it,” said Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, a national marijuana reform organization. He said the legal marijuana industry lacks access to commercial banking services available to other industries, including payroll, loans and deposit needs.
Whether you enjoy the effects of marijuana, or you simply revel in watching American small business owners succeed, this is a massive step in the right direction for California, and could easily become the blueprint for the likely glut of states on the verge of legalizing cannabis for themselves.
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