United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions may have reversed federal marijuana enforcement policy, but that isn’t stopping the Golden State from studying how to move forward with creating a public cannabis bank to serve the state’s legal cannabis industry.
On Jan. 30, 2018, California State Treasurer John Chiang announced via teleconference that he is studying the path forward by conducting a two-part feasibility study, in conjunction with California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, to determine the feasibility of opening a state-backed cannabis bank for legal cannabis businesses.
“We all know that the lack of banking services affects government taxes and forces the cannabis industry to operate in cash. This creates hardships and poses dangers to cannabis entrepreneurs, their employees and the general public,” Chiang said during the teleconference. “The completed study will answer questions about costs, benefits, risks, and legal and regulatory issues, including the needs for capitalization, deposit insurance, and access to interbank transfers of funds.”
Chiang’s office will conduct the operational part of the feasibility study and Becerra’s office will conduct the legal part; however, before the feasibility study commences, Chiang will review expert responses to his recently issued Request for Information from relevant experts to help determine the necessary depth and breadth of the study.
The feasibility study represents one of the four strategies that Chiang announced on Nov. 7, 2017, in his report, “Banking Access Strategies for Cannabis-Related Businesses.” The RFI strongly recommends that respondents to the RFI read the report before contacting the treasurer’s office with questions about or responses to the RFI.
If a prospective respondent has read the report and still has questions, Feb. 16, 2018, is the last day to contact Chiang’s office with those questions. Experts have until March 2 to submit their RFI responses.