Businesses selling marijuana in California, where it has been legal for medicinal use for years, often operate as cash businesses. (File photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles Daily News-SCNG)
Los Angeles city leaders are looking into the possibility of setting up a public bank that would do business with marijuana dispensaries, as well as cater to affordable housing developers.
Council President Herb Wesson proposed the idea in a speech at City Hall, laying out his agenda for the next two years. He said a municipal bank would be able to focus on providing financing to small businesses and developers of affordable housing.
The announcement comes as Oakland also is considering opening its own bank.
“Imagine, if this is possible, to have a bank, where its vision statement is to finance the building of affordable housing,” he told his colleagues on the City Council. “Imagine if we have a bank that is focused on working with small-business entrepreneurs to give them loans.”
But while Wesson pointed to the various reasons a municipal bank would be a good idea, it also comes at a key moment for California’s cannabis industry, which will be able to legally sell pot for recreational use in 2018.
That’s an excellent idea; there’s no reason a legal regulated industry selling a taxed product can’t accept credit cards or use the banking system. If it works, it could be a model for other jurisdictions with the same issue.
No but there’s good reason for banks not to want to touch it. I’m all for complete legalization but as it stands right now if I’m a bank I don’t think I’m going to want to deal with a company that could, at least in theory, be completely seized by the feds at any time. It’s just more risk than I’d think a bank would want to take.
Banks are going to have a real problem with this. And Jeff Sessions isn’t going to have a lot of sympathy. He hates pot. Congress is going to have to
be bribed get involved.
Hemp used to be legal tender in the US during the colonial era.