This could quite possibly be one of the biggest debates that pit state governments against the federal government: legal marijuana (medical and recreational included). The current Schedule 1 designation has cannabis as being more detrimental than cocaine and on par with heroin, LSD, and bath salts.
There’s been a much harder push lately for legalization efforts by states without current sets of laws as well as states that have only been approved for medical marijuana sales. Connecticut, New Jersey, Vermont, and even Michigan have all recently been in the news after throwing their hats into the ring for legalizing marijuana in the respective states.
Considering that legal weed in North America is expected to reach $22.6 billion in revenue in 2021 and that the still prevalent black market for weed is raking in somewhere north of $46m, it may be safe to say that as more states come online for legal cannabis, marijuana sales could be set to top the charts of some of the biggest industries we know today.
Think about this, Chocolate in the US is expected to bring in $25billion by 2019, Cookie sales were under $6billion last year, and bottled water sales aren’t expected to reach the $22-24billion mark until 2024. By comparison, the marijuana industry could “smoke” major markets of scale in a very short period of time and because of this, many onlookers are trying to identify opportunity through early investment.
Some look to benefit from grow operations and others are looking to benefit from the health impact via biotech and health sciences companies. Everything else in between has many new and seasoned investors taking into account the dramatic growth expected as the US and North America in general begins to spark conversation about legalization of marijuana.
This having been said, now the conversation about banking is coming back into light as this growth is being realized. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) headed a bipartisan group of other senators this week to introduce legislation to allow legal cannabis businesses to access banking services. Additional supporters of this included Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Rand Paul (R-KY), Patty Murray (D-WA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
Right now any cannabis business that operates under state laws have been denied access to the banking system due to the fact that banks can be prosecuted under federal law. Forget about chocolate for a moment because an industry that’s seemingly set to see large growth in a short period of time still remains, for the most part, an all cash business; despite the fact that these businesses still are required to pay taxes (in all cash sums).
Prohibition is simply driving commerce underground, creating enormous black-market profits that attract the most ruthless criminal elements. Illegal drugs constitute a trillion-euro-a-year global industry. Those vast revenues enable the cartels to bribe, intimidate, or kill their opponents at will. Prohibition strategies have never worked. People should consider relegalization, as a strategy to break the economic structure that allows gangs to generate huge profits in their trade, which feeds corruption and increases their areas of power.
Approved in 1919, alcohol prohibition led to a steady rise in both alcohol usage and violent crime. Al Capone and myriad mafiosi showed up. The murder rate rose 50% between 1919 and 1933, peaking at 10 murders per 100,000 population in 1933, when the country finally decided enough was enough. Immediately after the repeal of alcohol prohibition, gangsterism went into a swift decline, with all of the major gangs disappearing within 18 months, and the murder rate dropping every single year for more than a decade.
Now, the drug prohibition is another tragedy. Millions of people are arrested each year, trillions of euros are spent each year, and drug gangsterism is at a level that dwarfs its alcohol equivalent and which has led to bloodbaths, not because of drugs, but because of drug laws. Over 40% of Westerners have used drugs. Most people think marijuana should be legalized.
This tragedy is the result of kleptocrats’ refusal to allow people to engage in peaceful choices as to what they consume. Even if drug use were to rise upon a return to the tradition of tolerance, our streets would be safer, innocent people would not have their homes raided and pets killed by narcotics agents entering the wrong house, victims of asset forfeiture laws wouldn’t have their houses and other assets seized without due process, and resources would be freed to spend on improving peoples’ lives instead of destroying them.
Marijuana is gaining ground the world over, having recently been legalized in numerous states in the United States. Even though it is described as one cure for many ailments, there are some subtle nuances that make it more like a multitude of cures.
Marijuana comes in two overarching varieties- sativa and indica. Under these two varieties are numerous strains, each of which produces different results to treat different ailments. Sativa produces a cerebral high that allows the user to have energy and mental clarity. Indica produces a calming and sedating body high, allowing for relaxation.
Different strains of sativa can be used to treat stress, pain, depression, and adhd. Hybrids of the two varieties can be used to treat stress, depression, pain, migraines, adhd, insomnia, lack of appetite, and headaches. Indica strains can be used to treat pain, stress, insomnia, lack of appetite, nausea, tension, and anxiety.
This new bill would block federal banking regulators from prohibiting or penalizing banks from providing financial services to state-sanctioned, legal, and regulated cannabis businesses or associated businesses. It would also end or at least limit a bank’s federal deposit insurance strictly based on a bank providing a service to these types of businesses. It would further limit the recommendation and incentivisation of banks to halt or even downgrade banking services to cannabis businesses. A move to put this into law would be another big step to further legitimize the marijuana industry as a true industry of scale in today’s modern culture.
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