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Business, News, Politics

We Need to Bring an End to Banking Barricades for Cannabis Businesses

Ashley Priest

by Ashley Priest

May 11, 2021 03:30 pm ET Estimated Read Time: 5 Minutes
We Need to Bring an End to Banking Barricades for Cannabis Businesses

If you own a business in the legal cannabis sector in the United States, you already know what a pain in the rear end that the financial side of this business is. Most cannabis businesses are not allowed to bank like other legal businesses nor do they get the same protections. They are required to keep large piles of cash stored rather than having the safety and security of depositing their earnings into a financial institution. This not only creates a safety issue, but it also complicates things with the IRS. When it comes tax time, cannabis may be illegal on a federal level, but that doesn’t stop the taxman from showing up at your door with an open hand.

The IRS Mob and Federal Crackdown on Credit Unions Working with Cannabis Clients

It reminds me of old mob tactics, showing up at the door demanding what you owe on the spot in cash. However, the only difference is that the mob was typically owed and provided a service in return. In the case of cannabis and the feds, they think cannabis should remain federally illegal yet will demand tax money from the very businesses they deem illegal? I myself, along with many others don’t feel that the federal government deserves one single cent as long as cannabis remains prohibited from the people.

While the IRS Mafia can show up at a cannabis business doorstep demanding to be paid taxes in cash in full, cannabis businesses can’t take their cash to the bank. Some businesses have developed a relationship with banks in certain locations. Michigan is a great example of the clouded confusion of banking in the cannabis industry brought on by our ill-informed personal agenda-driven federal government. According to recent media reports, Live Life Federal Credit Union out of Fraser, Michigan, was asked by the feds to stop banking with cannabis businesses in the form of a Cease and Desist Order. Live Life Federal Credit Union was one of the first in the state of Michigan to work with the cannabis industry.

Live Life Federal Credit Union isn’t taking this one lying down though. Rather than rolling over and playing dead like the federal government demands, the CEO of Live Life, Carla Haglund, is prepared to make a stand, saying I’m going to win the war and not this battle. Somebody has to go through this. I guess it’s me.”

Financial institutions that work with cannabis businesses often experience excessive amounts of work, as was the case with the Live Life Federal Credit Union. Live Life had to slow down its acceptance of cannabis businesses in order to be able to keep up with the paperwork. Other facilities such as Partner Colorado Credit Union sympathize with the workload.

Not all politicians are evil draconian private agenda-driven demons.

U.S. Representative for Colorado’s 7th congressional district, Ed Perlmutter, told media sources;

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“In many states, the industry was deemed essential yet forced to continue to operate in all cash, adding a significant public health risk for businesses and their workers. As we begin our economic recovery, allowing cannabis businesses to access the banking system would also mean an influx of cash into the economy and the opportunity to create good-paying jobs. Thank you to Reps. Velázquez, Stivers and Davidson for their continued support and input on the bill, and I look forward to working with Senators Merkley and Daines to get the SAFE Banking Act passed in the Senate and signed into law.”

The Safe Banking Act – Let’s Try This Again

The Safe Banking Act has seen some success in the past when it passed the House vote but it was ultimately shut down in the last administration’s republican-controlled Senate. It is an outright shame that cannabis businesses are taxed so heavily, have such strict regulations, are deemed essential, yet refused the same rights and freedoms as other legal businesses, like alcohol or tobacco. Freedoms and rights such as banking with a financial institution, applying for loans and credit lines, and the right to pay taxes like everyone else rather than facing enforcer-style collections.

The feelings for cannabis legalization from the majority of the last administration’s Senate members were the same outdated ones that have torn this country apart for decades. It is time to vote those people out of the office and replace them with representatives that have the future of the people and our country in their best interest. Not the same old riff-raff that has ignored the will of the people, misappropriated public funds while driving their own private agendas for so long. America deserves better than this.

A new age of politicians is stepping up to the plate, telling the Feds they are wrong. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has made it clear that cannabis legalization would be a priority despite what President Biden may have in mind. These politicians are sending a powerful message saying we will not go quietly into the night. We have had enough and will no longer tolerate the way you treat this country or the people in it. To these politicians, thank you.

Pay close attention to those who stand against The Safe Banking Act. When they show their faces, let’s remember them and vote them out of a job. With support for cannabis at an all-time high and trust in old draconian politicians at an all-time low, now is the time to make a positive change for our country, refreshing the tree of patriotism with new representatives to help lead our country towards unity rather than to continually divide us. The Safe Banking Act is a great way to see who to vote for and against. Let’s hope for the sake of the American people that this bill makes its way through. The federal government has played the prohibition card for far too long.

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