California is the biggest market for medical and recreational cannabis in the US and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has been historically opposed to marijuana reformation laws. However, he recently attended a lunch meeting with some cannabis industry executives in California and is said to have visited one cannabis company as well.
Is McConnell rethinking his stance on weed?
It is interesting for a staunch opponent of weed like McConnell to be spending time with cannabis execs. He has spared two days to meet with business owners, top industry execs and other weed advocates and is expected to discuss a banking reform that could support the industry, according to sources. His schedule includes two lunches, and he is also expected to tour a pot company. Neither McConnell nor his office in Washington, has made any public comments about his change of heart regarding weed, so we are still not sure if the meetings will be fruitful.
However, industry analysts believe that it is a good beginning. According to Jason Zandberg, a PI Financial analyst, the senator’s visit signals positive times for the industry. He said,
“The U.S. market needs the banking act to flourish, without it — there are legitimate companies that are following the rules that are facing major obstacles. Banking legislation would be a huge positive catalyst.”
The industry welcomes the approach
Now that the senator has reached out to the executives, they may try to convince him that the industry needs reforms. The existing legal environment is punitive towards the industry, which hampers its growth even when they are operating legitimately.
Aaron Smith, the executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, said that he is happy to see McConnell talk with execs and understand that a prohibition isn’t as good an option as a regulated market. He added that banking reform is a priority for the industry right now and them looking for “common-sense policies around banking and public safety.”
Mitch McConnell’s visit isn’t completely random. A few weeks ago, the House of Representatives which is controlled by Democrats, rolled out the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act which would open up a world of opportunities to cannabis companies at credit unions and banks. Note that marijuana is legal at the state level but not at the federal level. Therefore, an attempt to understand the plight of the industry from the Trump administration and the Republican Party could be fruitful.