Some readers may be surprised to realize that a lot of cannabis stakeholders actually don’t want broadsweeping federal legalization. Why? Becuase they know it means that they’ll instantly be competing with well-established companies that are already masters of economies of scale, branding, marketing, and consumer sales, and their market share will shrink or be eliminated completely. At the same time, even those protectionist stakeholders are still hurting for certain aspects of federal legalization to go through, the top two being I.R.C. 280E and banking reform.
Banking reform is much more likely to happen before Congress decides to mess with 280E (despite the fact that certain law firms continue to try to pull off Hail Marys in tax court litigation to eliminate or reduce the draconian effect of 280E). Access to banking and reducing or eliminating federal penalties for financial institutions dealing with cannabis businesses has been on the horizon for sometime now in Congress. Political back channeling, inside baseball, and overarching legalization policy concerns have ultimately kept such reform from passing. Still, we have the 2014 FinCEN guidance to help the industry along where state-licensed, law abiding cannabis businesses can try to secure bank accounts with financial institutions that follow
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