House Committee on Small Business Holds Hearing On Cannabis

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Panel entitled: Unlocked Potential? Small Businesses in the Cannabis Industry

Today, the House Committee on Small Business held a hearing entitled Unlocked Potential? Small Businesses in the Cannabis Industry to discuss the economic and employment opportunities in the emerging legal cannabis industry and the challenges that federal prohibition and criminalization pose in regards to the Small Business Administration.

Currently, the SBA is prohibited from providing support, guidance, or microloans to small businesses in the cannabis industry, unlike every other sector of the economy.

NORML Political Director Justin Strekal released the following statement:

“In order to provide for inclusiveness within the legal industry, federal policy should strive to reduce roadblocks for qualified entrepreneurs in order to encourage participation from formerly disenfranchised populations,”

“Those enterprising individuals who would benefit most from the critical resources that the Small Business Administration must not be discriminated against in their quest to be job creators around the country.”

“It is for these reasons and more, NORML asks the House Committee on Small Business to advance legislation that would allow the Small Business Administration to engage with entrepreneurs and small businesses.”

NORML additionally submitted testimony to the Committee that can be viewed here.

A livestream will be available here. More information can be found here.

According to the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report, police made 659,700 arrests for marijuana-related violations in 2017. That total is more than 21 percent higher than the total number of persons arrests for the commission of violent crimes (518,617) in 2017. Of those arrested for marijuana crimes, just under 91 percent (599,000) were arrested for marijuana possession offenses, a slight increase over the previous year’s annual totals. Total marijuana arrests in 2017 increased for the second straight year, after having fallen for nearly a decade.

Thirty-three states, Washington, D.C. and the U.S. territories of Guam and Puerto Rico have enacted legislation specific to the physician-authorized use of cannabis. Moreover, an estimated 73 million Americans now reside in the ten states where anyone over the age of 21 may possess cannabis legally. An additional thirteen states have passed laws specific to the possession of cannabidiol (CBD) oil for therapeutic purposes.

Sixty-eight percent of registered voters “support the legalization of marijuana,” according to 2018 national polling data compiled by the Center for American Progress. The percentage is the highest level of support for legalization ever reported in a nationwide, scientific poll.

Majorities of Democrats (77 percent), Independents (62 percent), and Republicans (57 percent) back legalization. The results of a 2018 nationwide Gallup poll similarly found majority support among all three groups.

To date, these statewide regulatory programs are operating largely as voters and politicians intended. The enactment of these policies have not negatively impacted workplace safety, crime rates, traffic safety, or youth use patterns. They have stimulated economic development and created hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenue.

Specifically, a 2019 report estimates that over 211,000 Americans are now working full-time in the cannabis industry. Tax revenues from states like Colorado, Oregon, and Washington now exceed initial projections. Further, numerous studies have identified an association between cannabis access and lower rates of opioid use, abuse, hospitalizations, and mortality.

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  1. I’m curious….am I missing something here? Someone weigh in on this: The stores that sell marijuana must keep their funds in a safe and they can’t use banks because they are regulated by the feds, and if banks handle marijuana money they can be charged with money laundering. But the states that tax the stores, where in the hell they keep THAT $$$ in a HUGE freakin’ vault? Think about it…the stores that sell marijuana have to pay state taxes and when they pay the taxes they MUST pay in CASH…they cant simply write a CHECK. When the state uses the tax $$$$ for (as they claim) programs, schools, etc. do they just go grab the cash out of the vault and hand it out? NO, THEY ISSUE A STATE GOV. CHECK, but from where, the sky? SOMEWHERE along the ‘chain of custody’ the federal banking industry is rubbing that money in some way or another. Below is an example pic of a State issued check: notice the BANK OF AMERICA PRINT on it? So the lingering question is how can ANY State use any one of those same banks to put the TAX money in (which is from the PROFITS of selling cannabis) but John J Smith can’t run down the street to deposit his/her earnings from that day/week into ANY one of those SAME banks themselves without repercussions, AND why can’t the banks themselves accept the same cash (that the State accepted) without them being threatened by the Feds that they could be subject to sanctions such as their FDIC protection taken away or the threat (of which has been reported by SEVERAL news reports) of being charged with MONEY LAUNDERING.. As Congressman Mike Quigley recently stated: “Now that IL has legalized recreational #marijuana, it’s time for Congress to pass the #SAFEBankingAct to ensure that cannabis businesses have the same access to banking as any other legitimate business”…….and I’ll add: that they ALSO have the same access to the very same banking that the States do to put the Tax $$$ in. ;P


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