Tuesday, March 21, 2023
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Blunts: Key Lawmakers Flip on SAFE Banking

Cannabis News


Two key legislators who attempted to stop the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act are now saying that they support cannabis banking reforms.

Co-sponsor of the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA) Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) once said he would “lay myself down” to block the SAFE Banking Act. He claimed that if SAFE Banking policies were passed, lawmakers would be less likely to pass the CAOA—a bill that would legalize cannabis at the federal level.

But the senator has recently backtracked on the position after it became clear that the CAOA won’t have enough votes to pass this year, calling himself a “compromise guy.” In a recent video uploaded by Booker, the senator says that cannabis companies’ lack of access to banking services constitutes a “crisis” that hampers equity.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)—the head sponsor of CAOA—reportedly told Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO)—head sponsor of the SAFE Banking Act—that the Senate is “working on” passing the SAFE Banking bill.

“Whether that was just lip service or reality, there is momentum,” Perlmutter told KOA radio.

RICO Claims Evolve

The anti-cannabis lobby is reportedly attempting to shut down state-legal cannabis companies by leveling civil claims against them under Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. According to Philadelphia-Based law firm Duane Morris LLP, new claims target cannabis dispensaries that mislabel the THC content on their products.

The firm says previous RICO cases against cannabis companies have failed, but the outcome of Plumlee v. Steep Hill is hard to predict. The plaintiffs claim that a cannabis company overstated the potency of THC in some of its products by an average of 25 percent. Since it’s common practice to price marijuana according to THC levels, the suit claims that the company was overcharging consumers.

If successful, the suit will likely lead to more targeted attacks against other players in the industry.

Cannabis Profits Split By Competition

Cannabis sales in New Mexico remain relatively steady while more companies enter the market and take shares of the profits.

According to Las Cruces Sun News, the number of cannabis retailers grew 15 percent in July while collected tax revenue only increased by 2 percent. New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department (TRD) collected $2,472,376.45 in excise taxes from 149 cannabis retailers in June. In July, the department collected $2,524,255.65 in excise taxes from 171 retailers.

It’s still too early to see if New Mexico’s cannabis industry will suffer from growing pains like those currently being experienced in Canada—where disproportionate enthusiasm for the cannabis industry has led to price drops, overages and massive layoffs.


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