Cannabis CEOs don’t need federal legalization to grow their businesses

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The CEOs of nine of the biggest cannabis companies in the US and Canada don’t have high hopes for federal legalization in 2022, reports Insider. But that’s not stopping them from growing within legal states — which is simply the American way.

“This is a classic American story of states versus the federal government,” Green Thumb Industries CEO Ben Kovler told Insider. “It’s happened in many different ways, whether it’s alcohol, gambling, gay marriage, you name it. This is going to be a states-led process.”



Justice reform is a priority

While companies like GTI are expanding into legal states without federal reform, Kovler cites the continued incarceration of more than 40,000 people for cannabis crimes as an important issue the federal government does urgently need to address.

“Let’s get them out of jail,” he said. “It’s a WTF situation here.”

So is federal banking reform

The CEOs of Curaleaf and Verano Holdings, Joe Bayern and George Archos, cited SAFE Banking or some other form of federal banking reform as a more likely progression than decriminalization. They argue it’s not as contentious as other issues, and making banking and raising funds easier would benefit everyone, social equity license holders.

“It’s really a critical part of trying to get this industry to reach its full potential and be an inclusive industry where people can come in as small businesses and participate in the growth,” Bayern said. 

Canadian pubcos looking elsewhere

Cannabis giants headquartered north of the border aren’t allowed to sell THC-containing products in the US — meaning some, like Aurora, are setting their sights on emerging markets like Germany.

“Contrary to what many will say, legalization isn’t happening in the US anytime soon,” said Aurora CEO Miguel Martin. “I think there’s going to be a recognition that there’s a big world out there.”

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