A pair of congressmen has introduced a bipartisan bill that seeks to allow cannabis companies to be listed on national stock exchanges. The bill would also grant the industry access to crucial financial services like banking, solving an issue that has plagued the industry since its inception.
Rep. Guy Reschenthaler and Rep. Troy Carter are the cosponsors of the Capital Lending and Investment for Marijuana Businesses (CLIMB) Act. Filed last week, the legislation seeks to allow cannabis and ancillary businesses to access financial services such as checking accounts, cashless payments and loans, something federal law prohibits by threatening action against financial institutions that transact with these businesses.
This has forced many cannabis businesses to operate on a cash-only basis, increasing the risk of burglaries and putting customers as well as staff in danger. Furthermore, it limits the industry’s access to capital and hinders its growth.
On top of that, the CLIMB Act tackles an issue that hasn’t been raised often in the past: allowing cannabis firms to list their stock on national stock exchanges. More specifically, the bill would ensure that major stock exchanges such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and Nasdaq could list and trade the stock of registered cannabis businesses or service providers without any federal reprisal.
The CLIMB Act would be a major boon for the industry if it is passed, legitimizing the young but lucrative industry in the eyes of Wall Street and granting cannabis businesses access to much-needed banking services. It would essentially provide protections to any individual, business or agency that “provides business assistance” to a registered cannabis business. Theoretically, the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) would now be able to service state-legal cannabis businesses without fear of reprisal from the Justice Department.
According to Carter, the CLIMB Act is a great chance to bring equity and equal opportunity to the nascent cannabis industry. In a press release, he said that lack of access to capital had proven to be the most significant barrier to entry and success in the cannabis industry. The bipartisan CLIMB Act would bring some symmetry into the cannabis ecosystem and allow communities that had been disproportionately harmed by the drug war to move into the cannabis industry and benefit, he said.
As it stands, Reschenthaler said, marijuana companies in America cannot access traditional financing and lending services, making it difficult to compete with global competitors. The CLIMB Act would eliminate these barriers to entry and give America’s cannabis industry the financial tools it needs to succeed.
When U.S.-founded cannabis companies are allowed to register on domestic stock exchanges in the same way that entities with roots abroad such as Flora Growth Corp. (NASDAQ: FLGC) can, the competition in the industry will go up several notches due to the increased flow of capital into different companies.
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