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Big Pot wants millions in corporate investment — some lawmakers are happy to help

Last yr, we noticed pro-pot lawmakers try to load up any and each COVID-19 assist invoice with marijuana {industry} want listing objects. Though none of these makes an attempt proved profitable, they are again at it once more.

Last week, Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) supplied the SAFE Banking Act as an modification to the annual army spending invoice referred to as the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA. The NDAA is a must-enact protection spending invoice that Congress has handed into legislation every year for 60 years in a row. Which renders Perlmutter’s transfer particularly shady.

Outside of full, federal legalization, passing the SAFE Banking Act into legislation is the highest precedence of the marijuana {industry}. The invoice would permit the {industry} entry to the federal monetary system, opening it up to take out loans, have FDIC-insured financial institution accounts and settle for all main bank cards with out having to resort to loopholes. But the true purpose why this invoice is so critically necessary to Big Pot is that it will lastly permit pot firms entry to institutional investment.

You see, there are presently billions of {dollars} sitting on the sidelines, ready to be invested into the pot {industry} by main investment corporations, hedge funds, pension methods and different main corporate pursuits. These pursuits, in accordance to former House Speaker and pot advocate John Boehner, need to “dive head-first into cannabis.”

As it stands, the giants of Big Tobacco and Big Alcohol are deeply invested in the marijuana {industry} throughout our northern border in Canada. Altria, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, invested $2 billion into Cronos, a Canadian weed firm, whereas Constellation Brands, one of many largest alcohol conglomerates, pumped $245 million into one other Canadian marijuana firm, Canopy Growth.

But whereas these two giants of the dependancy {industry} are unable to totally make investments in American marijuana firms, their well-heeled lobbyists are working the halls of Congress, pushing for the SAFE Banking Act.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter
Rep. Ed Perlmutter supplied the SAFE Banking Act as an modification to the annual army spending invoice.
AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File

The most direct, speedy results of this invoice could be billions of {dollars} in investment flowing into pot firms that may then be spent on analysis and improvement of latest, extremely potent merchandise and new advertising campaigns that may additional normalize marijuana use and end result in extra youths utilizing the drug.

As an apart, don’t be fooled into pondering the pot {industry} is advertising the 5-percent-THC pot smoked in the Sixties and ’70s. Today’s marijuana repeatedly incorporates upwards of 30 % THC — the principle, psychoactive compound — in flower and 99 % THC in concentrates corresponding to dabs and vaping oils. This new, high-potency pot has been linked to a litany of significant mental-health points, corresponding to nervousness, despair, schizophrenia and psychosis.

The pot foyer has promulgated lie after lie to persuade lawmakers to assist this invoice. They say they are compelled to function as a “cash-only” {industry} due to the dearth of standard banking entry. This has repeatedly been proven to be false, as many marijuana dispensaries readily settle for card cost. Furthermore, the pot foyer claims that its (false) standing as “cash-only” makes dispensaries a chief goal for robberies. While it’s true marijuana dispensaries are oftentimes robbed, many such robberies are not after money that’s locked away in a backroom secure, however the marijuana merchandise on the cabinets.

Chemdawg marijuana plants grow at a facility in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada October 29, 2019.
The giants of Big Tobacco and Big Alcohol are deeply invested in the marijuana {industry} in Canada.
REUTERS/Blair Gable/File Photo

In quick, the SAFE Banking Act is nothing greater than the federal authorities signing off on corporate investment in the marijuana {industry}. And what’s worse, it may set the precedent for banking entry to different industries that site visitors in federally unlawful substances. Former officers from the Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Obama administrations have even warned this invoice may grant cowl for felony cartels to have interaction in cash laundering.

To the purpose at hand, marijuana-industry banking entry has completely nothing to do with the funding of our army and different national-security operations; the inclusion of this modification is simply one other instance of the desperation of the marijuana {industry}. The American individuals ought to reject these shady techniques and put youngsters earlier than the pot {industry}.

Kevin Sabet, a former three-time White House senior drug-policy adviser, is president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana and creator of “Smokescreen: What the Marijuana Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know.”

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