Senator Cory Booker introduced legislation in the US Congress to make cannabis / marijuana legal throughout the United States. He introduced the bill, called the Marijuana Justice Act, February 28, 2019 with support from other fellow 2020 candidates for president.
It is entitled Senate Bill 597 – “A bill to amend the Controlled Substances Act to provide for a new rule regarding the application of the Act to marihuana, and for other purposes.” However, the actual text of the bill is not yet available.
It still needs to make its way through Congress and each state could still make its own decisions on how to handle pot. The bill would remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances and provide incentives to states that take efforts to legalize or de-criminalize cannabis.
Passing the republican led senate may be a tough task for the bill, but it shows that opinion on marijuana has changed substantially over the last decade. Cannabis based businesses or those trying to break into the cannabis business in states like California where it is now legal still face significant battles to run their grow, cultivation, transportation, distribution, or sales companies. There are still relatively few places those businesses can store their money since most banks are hesitant to take funds from an enterprise still considered illegal under federal law with such banks being subject to federal oversight. They worry that the feds could come in and seize those assets or even shut the bank down.
Banking is just one of the many issues faced by cannabis business entrepreneurs in transitioning the once underground business into a legitimate business. Permits, licensing, dealing with taxes, and complying with regulations is a daunting task and many operations have decided to just stay in the shadows of the underground market to avoid dealing with those headaches; however, removal of cannabis / marijuana as a controlled substance on a federal level would help resolve some of the primary concerns of these businesses and owners that we deal with.
We continue to help marijuana businesses in California deal with these issues and welcome any changes made on the federal level.