Cannabanking looks more like a pipe dream.
As the weeks and months eat up the calendar, we are literally no closer to cannabanking accounts becoming widely available and much less costly than we were at this point last year, or the year before even. While everyone from Treasury Secretary Mnuchin down to the guy running the local credit union branch is pushing for legislative relief for the cannabis industry, it just does not seem to move forward to a point that something is voted on and becomes law.
It hasn’t been a sterling year so far for the industry by nearly any measure, if you look at situations like the black market resurgence in California (falling profits lead to desperate times, eh?), the FDA decrying CBD as a banned substance after the Farm Bill should have cured that question last year, and just a general sense of malaise and unease when you talk to people.
Optimism for cannabanking too soon and too fast?
Neither the STATES Act nor the SAFE Banking Act is moving through the interminably drudging wheels of politics nearly fast enough to do much for the industry, and as we predicted last year prior to the US election, the issue of cannabis legalization and cannabanking appear to be more important when it comes to getting votes as opposed to actually getting laws passed and taking cash off the streets.
If the current attitudes continue to prevail, it’s our prediction that we’ll see the industry as a whole start to drift into the grey market dominance, as it is (and has been) in the LA county and city districts for more than a decade. Once that happens, the tax revenues will continue to fall, cities and counties will find it far less lucrative to actively court cannabis businesses to their domains, and it’s likely the entire industry in the US will take a step backwards.
The flip side of this laissez faire situation is that big pharma, big tobacco, and MOST LIKELY – big data, will come swooping in for some bargain basement acquisitions and continue to grow their reach and dominance in the industry. These are companies that have enough in the bank legitimately to step back and be patient while the laws are sorted out.
Once we really get cranking into the next election cycle, which will be later in this year, you can bet that there will be plenty of lip service promises paid to legalization, cannabanking, small business protections, expungements, and all the popular terms that candidates talk about in relationship to marijuana and the cannabis industry.
Will we actually see any legislation?
With history as our guide, we should be smart enough to know that we – the individuals who make up the voting rolls – have the ability to force our elected officials to pass legislation that we want for our lives BEFORE we agree to vote to reelect these officials. If we choose not to force them to legislate on our behalf for what we want, or at least what the overwhelming majority of us want, then we should not expect them to legislate cannabanking or anything else for us when they don’t need our votes to get re-elected. We’re not talking rocket science here, or even rocket engineering.
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In the meantime, and at the risk of sounding like a shrew, take this lull in the progress and make sure you get your business ready for cannabanking. Get your i’s dotted, your t’s crossed, and all of your paperwork in order. Pay your taxes, keep your local licensing current and your records compliant. We created a handy guide last year – Bank the Business – that you can download and read, with suggestions for how to organize your business in a way that banks will likely be more able to approve you on the first go, or at least not send you back to the drawing board completely.