Will ‘SAFE Plus’ Add Up To Marijuana Justice For Communities Harmed By Prohibition? (Op-Ed)

Will ‘SAFE Plus’ Add Up To Marijuana Justice For Communities Harmed By Prohibition? (Op-Ed)
MJ moment

“Without improvements to the bill, SAFE will likely widen the gap between the already successful white-owned MSOs and upstart entrepreneurs from the communities that suffered the most under racist marijuana law enforcement.” By Amber E. Senter With the reports of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) negotiating with Republicans to pass a package of limited marijuana reforms with banking access as a central focus—known as “SAFE Plus”— before the end of the year, it is worth examining whether the details of the bill actually match the rhetoric of its supporters. Many in the marijuana and banking industries have touted the SAFE Banking Act as legislation that would promote social equity and minority-owned companies in the marijuana industry. However, upon closer examination, the current form of SAFE highlights the distinct difference between merely creating access and truly establishing equity. In plain language, that means increased access to cannabis banking via SAFE would primarily benefit large, predominantly white-owned marijuana corporations, while Black, Brown and Indigenous-led cannabis companies will likely receive little, if any, benefit because of ongoing and pervasive inequity in banking for these communities. Currently, due to marijuana being federally criminalized, financial institutions are restricted in the types of services they can offer to this industry. Among the services they can’t provide are commercial loans. This means that marijuana businesses are limited to private investment. Unsurprisingly, hardly any of this private investment flows into Black, Brown and Indigenous entrepreneurs trying to launch or scale a company in the industry. On the rare occasions that minority-owned businesses do receive private funding, it often comes with so many strings that the profits flow to investors rather than those putting in the work to launch the business. While SAFE would not change the legal status of marijuana, it would create a “safe harbor” for…

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Source : Will ‘SAFE Plus’ Add Up To Marijuana Justice For Communities Harmed By Prohibition? (Op-Ed)

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