The marijuana banking issues plaguing the cannabis industry are reaching some pretty wild levels. If you didn’t know, state legal cannabis companies struggle keeping their bank accounts or merchant services due to the illegal status of cannabis federally. The banking industry is so very nervous about what the feds will do to them if they allow companies that touches the marijuana plant to open accounts that California has now squashed Senate Bill 930. The bill was California’s plan to create a private state regulated banking system for cannabis companies. And, Wells Fargo in Florida closed out the campaign account of a candidate running for the agricultural commissioner position after they asked if she was going to except funds from state legal medical marijuana businesses.
You have to shake your head in bewilderment over just how nutty this is getting. The state legal cannabis industry is approaching $10 billion currently with expectations it could grow to over $47 billion by 2027. That would put the cannabis industry up there with the soda and snack industry. Can you imagine the entire snack industry working exclusively in a cash market? Imagine never using your credit card or debit card to buy a bag of Cheetos or a Coke. Imagine what criminals would do if they knew that every convenience store out there had to accept cash only to buy snacks. Do you think the rate of robberies and violent crime would go up?
California’s marijuana market is expected to grow to over $6 billion all by itself. People love weed in California. They have been able to access it for the last two decades through non-profit collectives, but that has all gone away with the implementation of a state regulated market through the passage of Prop. 64. California also became the 5th largest economy in the world recently. Add all of this up, the federal government feels threatened by California. Currently, the polices of California and the U.S. federal government do not match up. California creating its own centralized banking system is a true threat to the United States economy. If the California private banking system was able to lay a true foundation, more and more companies and residents of California may start utilizing it which would pull a huge chunk of change from federal coffers.
California’s decision to be rid of the idea of a private banking system is over concerns the federal government would be able to easily raid these institutions and confiscate the assets they held. Whether the feds would raid the banks because they were housing funds from cannabis companies or simply because it might threaten the entire U.S. banking system is up to you to decide. In Florida, Nikki Fried is campaigning to become the agricultural commissioner and opened a campaign account with Wells Fargo. After a little research Wells Fargo inquired whether Ms. Fried would be accepting donations from the medical marijuana industry in Florida. She used to lobby for the medical marijuana space and sure enough her plans are to accept campaign donations from medical cannabis.
There are politicians all over the country now accepting donations from state legal cannabis companies. Wells Fargo is currently trying to fix its reputations after their $185 million fine for the fake accounts scandal. They told Fried that the closure of her account was due to their “responsibility to oversee and manage banking risks.” If other banks around the country were to follow suit, it would create absolute chaos in the upcoming elections. With tax code 280E still in place, the federal government may stand to gain much more financially from marijuana prohibition than if it did become a legal regulated market nationwide. The question to ask here is; when will marijuana be legal everywhere?