In a recent Politico event series, the governors of Illinois, Minnesota, and North Dakota spoke about marijuana policy in their states and at the federal level. Despite varying degrees of progress in legalizing marijuana in their respective states, the governors agreed that federal lawmakers need to pass legislation to allow licensed cannabis businesses to access traditional financial services.
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has championed adult-use legalization and social equity initiatives in his state. While acknowledging hurdles in implementing equity policies, he stressed that Illinois has the “most equity-centric cannabis industry in the entire country.” Pritzker also called for federal marijuana banking reform, saying that industry growth and economic development depend on it.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz strongly supports enacting marijuana legalization in his state and has been working on cannabis policy issues since his time in Congress. He believes that prohibition does not work and that regulation and taxation can help funnel money back into education. Walz also proposed a tax rate on marijuana sales that is nearly double the rate proposed by the advancing legislature’s bill.
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum called for federal banking reform to prevent a cash-based business that can foster opportunities for organized crime and tax evasion. While he did not comment further on the future of cannabis policy in North Dakota, he emphasized the need for a federal marijuana banking fix.
These governors, who come from states with diverse political backgrounds, share a common concern: that the lack of federal marijuana banking reform is hindering the growth and development of the cannabis industry. The cash-based nature of the business makes it difficult for licensed cannabis businesses to access traditional financial services, creating security risks and limiting their ability to operate efficiently. This issue affects states regardless of their current marijuana laws, making it a bipartisan concern.
It is encouraging to see governors from different states coming together to call for federal marijuana banking reform. Hopefully, their collective voice will help push Congress to take action and free up licensed cannabis businesses to access traditional financial services. This will not only benefit the cannabis industry but also promote public safety and generate revenue for states. (Source)
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