Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Did Matt Gaetz Put A Knife In The Cannabis Industry


People are consuming more marijuana than ever, but the industry is still suffering significant growing pains.  As the industry expands, bad players are being weeded out but New York and California have truly botched the legal system.  The marijuana industry is primarily filled with small businesses like dispensaries, craft product makers, farmers and more. On the key issues preventing them from moving to profitability is banking and taxes. After a 3 year downturn (despite increased sales), the cannabis industry saw a ray of hpe in the SAFER Banking bill….but then the US House of Representatives devolved into one of the hottest messes in its storied history.  So did Matt Gaetz (R-FL) put a knife in the cannabis industry?

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The Biden administration has been extremely slow in delivering on his campaign promise of increased federal legalization and an easier way to do business.  The House passed SAFE Banking 7 times in bipartisan fashion, all failing in the Senate.  This year, the Senate, with key sponsors of Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Patty Murray (D-WA) wrote the bill SAFER Banking and managed to get it out of committee.

WIth some bipartisan support, including Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), the bill looked like it will pass the Senate and head to the House before going to the White House with hopes of Biden’s signature.  The industry crossed fingers with hope and cannabis stocks inched upwards.

Then Representative Matt Gaetz ousted Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as speaker and shut down Congress. For the last two weeks, GOP Representatives have been caught up in a vortex of a floor fight which shows little hope of abating soon.  After twice losing, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) announced he is pushing for a third floor vote for speaker.  Until a speaker is elected, House bills remain stalled.

Senator David Daines (R-MT) is saying the the Senate will hold off on floor action until there’s a sense the House can pass a bill. But if they year ends, everything starts back at the beginning, and adds months of waiting to the beleaguered cannabis industry.

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One issue around the lack of a SAFER Banking act is it makes it harder on the regular workers of businesses to get car, house and other traditional loans.  Without SAFER Banking, this is seen as a negative and count against a regular worker who is holding onto a steady job.  Even with a well paying job, banks are more likely to look at through a “no” lens.

So in a way, Matt Gaetz is also harming the working man and small business owner.


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