Lack of Marijuana Banking Hurts Job Growth and Economy
By Bob Garcia
The United States Senate blocked an amendment last month that would have provided protections for banks that work with marijuana businesses. Whether Congress likes it or not, marijuana is a legal business in over two-thirds of the nation, and their decision only hurts related job growth.
Even the most conservative states continue passing laws to regulate cannabis despite the stance of the federal government. The same week Congress tossed the banking protections, Oklahoma became the 30th state to legalize marijuana as medicine. Utah and Missouri could be next with similar initiatives on the ballot.
Blocking marijuana businesses from access to banking relegates the majority of their transactions to cash. It is a situation that leads to numerous safety and logistic issues, but from an economic perspective, it stifles growth. According to a report from New Frontier Data, the marijuana industry could create over 25,000 jobs by 2020.
The industry has proven it can grow without the help of FDIC banking, but the situation with our neighbor to the North is the perfect example of how much faster the economic growth could be.
Legalization in Canada allowed the Bank of Quebec to approve a $200 million credit line to Aurora Cannabis, a major marijuana producer in the country. For Aurora, the credit translates to new facilities, more employees, and the money to fuel their ambitions.
US banks may not be able to offer credit like Bank of Quebec this year, but the future is looking brighter than ever. A total of 41 pro-marijuana bills were introduced to Congress this year, which is roughly the same number that was introduced over a five-year period before 2016.