SENATE COMMITTEE ADVANCES CANNABIS FINANCE REFORM

CCJ Gabriel
SENATE COMMITTEE ADVANCES CANNABIS FINANCE REFORM

Canadian cannabis companies and investors have praised a Senate committee's decision to push forward with measures designed to ease federal financing restrictions on their U.S. counterparts. The Senate banking committee voted 14-9 to send the SAFER Banking Act for a full vote on the Senate floor. The bill is part of multiple bipartisan efforts to make it easier for cannabis companies operating legally under state laws to access federally regulated financial services. Advocates argue that the bill would make the industry safer and less prone to money laundering, tax fraud, and armed robbery. Canadian industry players, however, have been awaiting reforms for the prospect of unfettered expansion into a market 10 times the size of their home market. High Tide Inc., a Calgary-based retailer, believes that if passed into law, the bill will provide further legitimacy, improve employee and customer safety, and offer much-needed guidance for commerce.


High Tide is pushing for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to review a recommendation to move cannabis to Schedule 3, a category of "moderate to low potential" for abuse. This would allow cannabis producers to be listed on major North American securities exchanges and prevent federal banking regulators from acting as "moral police" who can deny financial services to organizations. Republicans on the committee argue that gun manufacturers and oil and gas companies would also benefit from similar protections. The National Cannabis Industry Association calls the vote an important step towards the bill becoming law, as 76 U.S. senators, including 28 Republicans, are from states that regulate the use of cannabis.

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