Monday, February 26, 2024

Trying To Make Cannabis SAFER And Save You Money

The GOP and Biden aren’t concerned about small businesses…or your wallet

Having a 40 hour a week job and working hard should not be a reason you are flagged to not get a car loan. Building a legal business you are passionate about shouldn’t be the reason your bank shuns you. Over 40 states have some form of legal weed and over 48 million have used marijuana. Roughly 90% of Americans believe it should be legal in some form or another.  Yet, the GOP and Biden administration believe myths and prefer a thriving illicit (and dangerous) market over a legal, safe, beneficial legal market. There is one elected who is trying to make cannabis SAFER and save you money!

Currently, marijuana business owners, with over 90% being small businesses, operate in an environment where they deal with large amounts of money and second class citizen status.  And it directly affects the consumer. Robberies, zero tax breaks, expensive non traditional bank operating loans all get pushed to product cost, impacting the wallet of millions of consumers.

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This doesn’t count the 1,500 unlicensed New York City dispensaries which are crushing stores who have gone to the mammoth lengths and huge cost the state has required to operate legally.  And they are upcharing consumers also!

Washington State Treasurer Mike Pellicciotti
Washington State Treasurer Mike Pellicciotti

The Washington state Treasurer, Michael Pellicciotti, is leading a group of bipartisan legal state officials to help the Senate understand the practical need for SAFER banking. While pleased the new bill has seen more progress than any other, he knows there is more work to done. 

One issue around the lack of a SAFER Banking act 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 counts 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.

Pellicciotti has an important ally in Washington Senator Patty Murray.  Murray is the number three in the Senate, a co-sponsor of SAFER Banking, and a champion. Her support is an excellent counterbalance to Mitch McConnell is has been fighting legal marijuana.

Pellicciotti shared “The lack of routine banking services for cannabis businesses and their employees have industry-wide consequences. For employees, in addition to the continued safety risks of working in a cash rich environment, participation in the cannabis workforce can become a barrier to accessing necessary financial services such as car loans, mortgages, and even checking accounts.”

“For businesses, operating costs are uniquely inflated due to higher insurance and liability rates, security costs, and added fees for those businesses that are able to bank with state chartered financial institutions. Added together, these factors create tremendous pressure at every level of the industry that impacts daily operations and drives up prices.”

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Pellicciotti has an important ally in Washington Senator Patty Murray.  Murray is the number three in the Senate, a co-sponsor of SAFER Banking, and a champion. Her support is an excellent counterbalance to Mitch McConnell is has been fighting legal marijuana.

It’s ridiculous that legal cannabis businesses in Washington state are forced to operate entirely in cash—and it puts the safety of their employees and our neighborhoods at risk,” said Senator Murray. “That’s why I’ve been working for years on SAFE Banking legislation and I’m thrilled to see bipartisan momentum behind this bill, which has now advanced further than ever in the U.S. Senate. The SAFER Banking Act is an important first step in doing the right thing for small business owners and the communities they operate in—and I’m going to keep pushing to get it across the finish line. We can’t stop there, though—we need to work towards broader cannabis policy reforms that address the long history of racial injustice and criminalization that have harmed so many communities across the country.”

Wishing this team good luck in trying to make cannabis SAFER and save you money!

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