…Chief executive of Denver’s largest marijuana dispensary…Andy Williams struggles with a lot of financial hurdles.
The First Bank of Colorado closed the accounts of everyone in the family business, Medicine Man Technologies, including children who have no part in the industry. Williams can’t take on any investment and needs to fund expansion through personal loans from friends and family.
Customers can only pay in cash; banks refuse to hold his money and everyone from employees to contractors need to accept cash payments. Employees, who can’t prove their income as a result, often struggle to get loans and mortgages.
Furthermore, section 280E of the US tax code prohibits the deduction of expenses related to controlled substances for tax purposes, and Williams predicts that he gives the internal revenue service an additional $600,000 each year as a result of business expenses that can’t be written off.
While recreational marijuana legalisation is well on its way in states like Colorado, it remains illegal at the federal level, stifling the growth and innovation of the industry’s first movers.
Our elected officials waver from know-nothing moralists to anti-science hypocrites to old-fashioned cowards. Most know better. Damned few have the courage to act.
Meanwhile, north of the border, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has vowed to legalise recreational marijuana consumption on a federal level, opening the door to investment, less restrictive tax policies and banks that can treat the marijuana industry like any other. While legalisation hasn’t yet taken place in Canada, when it inevitably does American marijuana businesses may suddenly find themselves at a disadvantage.
“They’ll be first to market,” says Williams. “There’s going to be a lot of development and innovation in Canada that’s going to spur economic growth and attract investment. First to market is going to get a lot of attention, so it’s a lost opportunity for the United States if and when that happens.”…
“The real setback will be longer term in their jump in developing that intellectual property, whether that’s in producing marijuana or developing brands or discovering new uses for cannabis in the medical field,” he said. “It’s the long-term effect of being behind the eight ball that I’m concerned about.”
Recreational marijuana is still illegal in Canada but many look to its medicinal marijuana system, which is considered among the best in the world, as a sign of things to come. Health Canada, the country’s federal health authority, already regulates over one million square feet of approved marijuana production space spread across 30 industrial-sized facilities…
Recreational legalization in Canada, however, could force policymakers in the US to modernize their federal policies in order to level the playing field.
Between populist hypocrite dope-smokers and spineless liberal hypocrite dope-smokers, our elected officials are doomed to a reaction policy roughly akin to snails racing to escape roadrunners. Trudeau in Canada will be replacing lost revenue from previous conservative government’s allegiance to fossil fuel producers. Obama – and whoever next sits in the Oval Office confronting a Congress populated with close-minded Republicans and centrist-dominated Democrats – will continue to dither and panic over popularity polls that show American consumers ready and willing to move ahead on legalizing cannabis as readily as they have every other so-called controversy petrifying the brains of our spoon-fed politicians.
Other nations in the educated world will continue to remind Americans there ain’t any greatness associated with being backwards, governed by fear.