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Photo by iStock / Pixel Catchers

News | 02.22.2022

Here’s Why Cannabis Prohibition Is More Damaging Than Legalization

Dispensary robberies in a cash-based industry and creating a booming illicit market are some of the things you can thank cannabis prohibition for.

While many states are adopting regulations to conduct a safe and profitable legalized cannabis industry, keeping the drug federally prohibited doesn’t make an individual state’s job any easier. For starters, let’s take a look at what is still deemed illegal under federal law. 

According to the American Bar Associationbanking institutions that offer financial services to licensed cannabis businesses in legal states aren’t falling in line with federal law. Getting access to capital and loans from banks in order to start a cannabis business is also a rare sight. 

Furthermore, most pot shops are cash-based because credit card companies cannot legally operate with a federally illegal transaction of a drug. And what have we learned from working in a cash-based industry? Thieves and robbers are looking to dispensaries as their main target. 

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Photo by Penticton Western News

For this reason, the SAFE Banking Act 2021 was introduced to “harmonize federal and state law by prohibiting federal regulators from taking punitive measures against depository institutions” to licensed and legitimate cannabis businesses. The bill is said to reduce dispensary robberies and let the IRS collect cannabis taxes. 

This all sounds pretty fair, right? Most lawmakers think so, too, as the SAFE Banking Act 2021 has passed six times, reports USA Today. In fact, one version of the bill passed with flying colors thanks to the 106 Republicans who were in favor. 

However, the bill isn’t likely to pass on a federal level, and the Senate has made that known. This means bills and acts to improve the cannabis industry and regulate it even further aren’t likely to roll out anytime soon. That said, it’s still not a surprise the federal government isn’t budging. 

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Photo by Jay Calderon / The Desert Sun

Without any positive movements forward, cannabis prohibition is only fueling the illicit market and, therefore, putting unlicensed and dangerous products into the hands of consumers in legalized states. It’s quite funny how the U.S. has always taken pride in being one of the most modern, welcoming, and business-oriented countries but still hasn’t taken complete advantage of the cash crop. 

 As per USA Today, unlicensed and illegal cannabis grow operations often leave legal producers in their dust. This is because licensed growers are faced to run operations within the stringently regulated industry without access to capital, and grow operations are one of the most expensive aspects within the regulated industry. 

In some better, more positive news, Pew Research Center reports that 91% of Americans are in favor of legalizing medical or recreational cannabis. Additionally, out of the 52 states, 47 have the plant legalized in some form. 

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