From the Sacramento Business News
The state of California is looking for a consultant to develop a public bank to service the state’s legal cannabis industry.
California State Treasurer John Chiang today announced the move with the state’s Attorney General’s Office to begin a “methodical and disciplined evaluation structured as a two-part feasibility study.”
The study will answer questions about costs, benefits, risks and legal and regulatory issues, according to a press release from Chiang’s office.
With the passage of Proposition 64 two years ago, California moved to legalize the recreational use of marijuana on Jan. 1 this year. However, under federal law, marijuana is still illegal, so banks, credit unions and brokerages — all of which have federal oversight — are at risk of losing their licenses to operate if they take money associated with cannabis.
Chiang is concerned that so much money is stuck in cash, posing a potential danger to the cannabis industry and also to state offices that have to collect taxes from the industry.
Some of the details the consultants will consider are a public bank’s need for capital, deposit insurance and access to the banking system.
“We want California to get the most bang for its buck. So today I am issuing a Request for Information, or RFI, to get the expert help we need to establish the scope of our feasibility study,” Chiang said in a teleconference.
“I want to conclude by saying that California — and other states — will need to lead when it comes to bringing the cannabis industry out of the shadows so that it can be properly regulated to prevent sales to minors, to protect the public’s health and safety, and ensure cannabis businesses behave as legitimate, tax-paying members of our economy,” he said.
Chiang went on to say that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the federal government’s position “crystal clear” earlier this month when he said he would end Obama-era cannabis guidelines “that essentially remove cannabis from the list of federal drug enforcement priorities.”