This Week In Cannabis & Politics: Bank Reform, New Polls, & Anti-Prop 64 Efforts

Why are legislatives pushing bank reform? Have Americans shifted their smoking habits? What are the hurdles in legalization efforts?

Aug 13, 2016

With 2016 being an exciting year for cannabis reform, it’s kinda hard to run out of things to talk about. Last week I brought up the debate over declassifying cannabis, big pot advocate turned presidential candidate Gary Johnson and Congress’ usual devious antics. This week, I’ve chosen to discuss why legislatives are pushing to cannabis bank reform, how Americans have shifted their smoking habits, and naturally, the hurdles in legalization efforts. Let’s get started, shall we?

Makin’ bank reform

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If you’ve ever been to a dispensary in a legal state, then you probably know that purchasing cannabis with a credit card is a no-go. The reason for this is simple– since cannabis is only legal on a state-by-state basis, unfortunately, most banks would prefer not to get in trouble with the feds and as a result, steer clear of the industry as a whole.

On Wednesday, however, The National Conference of State Legislatures passed a resolution led by a group of Oregon legislators: Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick, Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli, and Rep. Ann Lininger to put an end to this policy.

The majority of cannabis businesses operate on a cash-only basis, leading to Ferrioli’s statement arguing that an all-cash system in the legal cannabis industry leaves them vulnerable to crime and discrepancies.

Only one bank in Oregon, a credit union in Salem, admitted to serving cannabis businesses in secret while requiring them to sign non-disclosure agreements.

In a statement, Burdick wrote,

As more states continue to legalize either medical or adult use cannabis, it is imperative that we allow legal cannabis businesses to access the banking system.

Good point, sir. The cannabis industry is growing at an increasing rate, which will probably make it a bit more difficult for business owners to lug thousands of dollars in cash to the Department of Revenue to pay their quarterly taxes.

Eventually, the cannabis industry is going to be overflowing with paper, and business owners will soon run out of space to stash their cash. Only time will tell…

New year, new poll

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Get this; a new Gallup poll found that the percent of American adults who say they smoke cannabis has nearly DOUBLED over the past three years.

In 2013, when adults were asked if they smoked cannabis, only 7% of them said yes. Three years as of July, when Gallup asked the same question again, a whopping 13 percent admitted to regularly partaking in cannabis activities.

There are many likely factors that have led to the increase of cannabis users over the past few years. However, it’s more than likely due to the opening of recreational pot shops in four U.S. states. And with cigarette use in decline, it’s likely that the number of ganja lovers will only increase as cannabis use is said to become more prevalent than cigarette use in just a few years’ time.

Hmm. Perhaps we can be the generation that ends cigarette smoking, after all.

Along with legalization and cigarette use, the blatant increase in cannabis indulgers may also be due to the fact that the social stigma surrounding cannabis has been disappearing with time, allowing for it to be more socially acceptable.

See how close we are?!

Moving on…

Wham! Bam! No thank you, SAM

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It is with deep sadness that I inform you that former Representative and nephew of the late, and handsomely crafted, President JFK, Patrick Kennedy, has become a cannabis advocate’s worst nightmare. Kennedy, along with a national coalition of fun-haters, has raised more than $2 million to fight legalization initiatives in five states this year.

Alongside Kennedy are his trusty companions; David Frum, senior editor of the Atlantic and Kevin Sabet, a former drug policy advisor to the Obama Administration. Together the three founded Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), an anti-legalization group that will stop at nothing to keep more states from introducing such measures.

While the three are hoping to turn away ballots from a total of five states, they are putting most of their energy into one state in particular: The Golden State.

Sabet commented on the importance of California by stating,

The opposition campaign to California’s Proposition 64 will eventually get a large amount of the money because its vote affects so many people and is likely to have the biggest influence on other states considering similar proposals.

Sabet also argued that the only reason for not being able to match the money raised by legalization advocates was because the bankers have plans to invest in the cannabis industry. I mean, even if that’s the case, do you blame ’em?

The boys of SAM also claimed that California’s Proposition 64 is a slap in the face to underprivileged neighborhoods that have been trying to peel themselves away from alcohol and drug addiction within their cities. However, pro-legalization supporters see it differently, arguing that Prop 64 will create a “safe, legal comprehensive system for adult use of marijuana while protecting our children.”

It’s true. Cannabis is everywhere. Just because it’s illegal, doesn’t mean it’s hard to get. Prop 64 will undeniably help regulate cannabis use while keeping it off the streets and out of children’s hands. So, if you live in California, keep an eye out on the ballot for Prop 64, and stick it to the SAM!

There is nothing more exciting than being a part of history and watching it unfold before your very own eyes. While anti-legalization groups are fighting to put an end to the rise of a promising industry, the American people are having their voices heard in an attempt to end prohibition.

Mark my words that, within time, the United States will inadvertently need the cannabis industry as it will soon become a cornerstone in the preservation of our economy, perhaps even on a global scale.

Seriously, there is nothing cannabis can’t do.

Have you heard of any stories involving cannabis in politics? Let us know on social media or in the comments below.

Aug 13, 2016