At the beginning of June 2018, President Trump said he would likely be in favor of a bill that would end cannabis prohibition and put a stop to the federal cannabis conundrum.
Trump’s statement about ending cannabis prohibition is putting him against Attorney General Jeff Sessions who, on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, has been making threats of federal prosecution against dispensaries, even those that are operating legally within their states.
Nine states so far – Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and the nation’s capital D.C. – have all legalized adult-use, recreational cannabis. An additional 20 states have some sort of medical cannabis laws in the books as well.
But despite the exorbitant reach of this industry, concerns about the “federally illegal” status of the plant has been preventing banks and lenders from working with cannabis companies. Not only that, but investors are also holding back because a legal change that’s not in favor of cannabis could cost them everything. Ending federal cannabis prohibition can finally allow them to enter the market.
“If you are in the marijuana business … you can’t get a bank loan or set up a bank account because of concern over the conflict between state and federal law,” lead sponsor of the bill Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) said at a news conference last month. “We need to fix this. It is time we take this industry out of the shadows, bring these dollars out of the shadows.”
It’s absolute “public hypocrisy that businesses are required to pay taxes yet are barred from participation in the financial system,” he went on to say. Ending federal prohibition would not only take the insanity out of finding a bank or financing, but it would also aim to create a standard system of testing and regulation for the industry.
“I support Sen. Gardner,” replied Trump when asked about the bill. “I know exactly what he’s doing. We’re looking at it. But I probably will end up supporting that, yes.”