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U.S. Banking Rules Are Holding Back Global Cannabis Trade

Written by Peter McCusker

One of the main roadblocks to the growth of the global cannabis trade is the fear of prosecution hanging over banks, claims a new report.

The Cannabis Legal Report published by London-based Prohibition Partners, finds that medical cannabis now legal in 43 countries with an ever-increasing number of countries also allowing access to CBD products 

It says this  ‘significant’ shift in attitudes to cannabis has been driven by ‘a kaleidoscope of forces including widespread political upheaval, technological innovation and new societal norms’.

The report analyzes the current global status of cannabis legal and regulatory regimes with its major finding being the inability of banks to do business, particularly trade, with cannabis firms, without fear of prosecution. With cannabis federally outlawed multi-nationals are reluctant to enter the U.S. market, as they cannot carry out cross-state trade, it says. 

“Federally insured banks are forbidden from dealing with cannabis businesses, leading to problems all over the world where firms rely on either U.S. capital, allow U.S. dollars as a currency, or use the services of a lender based in the U.S.,” It says. 

The report highlights how a smooth passage into law for the SAFE Banking Act could open the global markets to the larger U.S. players. It says global regulation is failing to keep pace with legalization, and ‘international agreements are needed to give clarity to businesses and patients’. 

Daragh Anglim, Prohibition Partners‘ Managing Director, said: “Regulatory shifts and advances came thick and fast over the last 12 months, such as Thailand’s reform of previously conservative cannabis policies, Canada’s legalisation of adult-use cannabis and the UK’s implementation of a medical cannabis programme. 

“We feel that international regulatory bodies and institutions need to keep pace with global legislative change to offer the clarity that businesses and patients need.” Highlighting how a regulated environment can help business progress it cites Canada as the most active global merger and acquisition player with Canadian firms buying up ‘local’ producers.

It says: “The support and experience gleaned from working in a fully regulated adult market have enabled Canadian firms to penetrate strategically important foreign jurisdictions such as Germany, the largest European Union state.” 

It highlights how Germany’s medicinal market alone promises to be larger than Canada’s medicinal and recreational markets combined, ‘making it an essential outpost for ambitious firms’. 

The report also singles out countries such as the such as the Philippines and Thailand, with strict anti-drug laws, who are launching or advancing medicinal cannabis programmes, while liberal Western jurisdictions are inching toward adult recreational markets. It adds. 

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About the author

Peter McCusker

Peter McCusker is an experienced news and business editor, who believes it’s time to fully embrace the multiple, proven, medical benefits of the cannabis plant.