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Opinion: Safe banking for cannabis industry needs to be carried cross finish line

Congressional cannabis champions clearly come from Colorado (how’s that for alliteration?). We saw this kind of leadership with Gov. Jared Polis when he was a congressman and co-founded the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, with former Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, and with our long-time current champion for SAFE Banking, Democrat Rep. Ed Perlmutter. With SAFE Banking voted on and approved now six times in the U.S. House of Representatives and still zero times in the Senate, getting this bipartisan and impactful piece of banking legislation to the president for his signature is not only vital, it’s actually do-able. Let me be clear for those who still don’t understand what SAFE Banking is or how it is significantly beneficial to Coloradans. And by doing so, let me share what it’s not. Read th...

Vicente: This 4/20 celebrate that marijuana businesses and their employees are now “essential”

For decades, April 20 has been recognized as an unofficial marijuana holiday in Colorado and around the country. While this year’s “4/20” may not be marked by large public rallies or concerts due to enduring COVID-19 safety restrictions, there are plenty of reasons for the cannabis community to celebrate — including recent legalization announcements in New Mexico, New York, and Virginia — and for cannabis industry workers to be recognized. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the risks and sacrifices of frontline workers to help others have been celebrated and praised with red hearts in windows and yard signs thanking hospital workers and those who provide our groceries and public services. These folks absolutely deserve our praise and gratitude. Additionally, though, there is a group of more...

Cannabis industry may finally move past cash as Democrats look to loosen banking restrictions

Colorado’s cannabis industry has been forced to deal primarily in cash for years due to banking restrictions that pot advocates and banking lobbyists say put shops, growers and others at risk of theft. The industry is now cautiously optimistic this year that, with Democrats in power in Washington, its eight years of trying to lift those restrictions on banks and credit unions will pay off. Because marijuana remains an illicit drug under federal law — and banking the proceeds of illicit drug sales is a federal crime — credit unions and banks are limited in their ability to work with cannabis companies, and take risks when doing so. As a result, the large and growing marijuana industry still remains cash-only, seven years after legalization in Colorado. “We’ve got people who are still dealin...