Recreational cannabis is now legal in 19 states and Washington D.C., driving the growth of legal cannabis sales estimated at $33 billion this year—up 32% from 2021—and expected to reach $52 billion by 2026. This movement signals that financial investment in cannabis is not abating but accelerating notwithstanding the impact of the lingering COVID-19 pandemic. This growth in the cannabis industry, of course, also means that operators and their investment partners face commercial risk, including insolvency.
Canada legalized recreational cannabis in 2018, but the legal cannabis market continues to struggle even three years later. Observers blame overregulation by both federal and provincial regimes, high taxation, and…
Continue Reading Restructure This! Episode 3: Canada: Cannabis Boom or Bust?
Hope soared with the possibility of federal cannabis reform in 2021. And for good reason – the induction of a new, more liberal administration, rapid state-level legalization, broad support by Americans, and growing bipartisan backing led many to believe that 2021 was going to be the year where federal decriminalization of cannabis would become a reality. But, as 2021 continued on, optimism dwindled as any advancement in federal cannabis reform was hobbled by the inability of Congress to agree on the appropriate level of reform and the proper mechanics for passage. Specifically, tension rose amongst the elected Democrats on whether to support incremental reform (like access to banks or removal of cannabis from the list of Schedule 1 drugs) or comprehensive legalization with provisions to address social inequities stemming from the legacy of the War on Drugs. And so 2021 came to an end, and the cannabis industry saw yet another year of failed meaningful change on the federal level.
Continue Reading Federal Cannabis Reform – Is 2022 the Year?
It is undeniable that, not only is the cannabis industry here to stay, but it is growing exponentially. To date, 47 states, 4 U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis in some form – whether they decriminalize production, allow uses limited to cannabidiol (“CBD”) or hemp, or is as expansive as permitting THC-containing cannabis for medical use, adult-use or both. Yet, in comparison to other industries, legitimate licensed cannabis-related businesses remain hobbled by the difficulties they face in accessing traditional banking and financial services – largely due to the fact that “marijuana” is still considered illegal on the federal level under the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”). Currently, financial institutions (including federally-insured banks) are hesitant, and oftentimes unwilling, to work with cannabis-related businesses due to fear of reprisal from federal banking regulators.
Continue Reading SAFE Banking Act of 2021: Where Are We on Cannabis Banking Change?
On Wednesday, two businessmen were convicted of a single count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1349) for orchestrating a scheme to disguise cannabis-related financial transactions as transactions unrelated to cannabis. The conviction followed the close of a three-week trial in the Southern District of New York, which was one of the first federal criminal trials to be held in person since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The jury deliberated for less than a day. Sentencing is scheduled for June 25, 2021. …
Continue Reading Online Cannabis Marketplace Businessmen Convicted of Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud