OPINION by YAËL OSSOWSKI
Last Tuesday, California State Treasurer John Chiang and Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced an intention to form a public bank for the purpose of providing services for the state’s burgeoning cannabis industry.
Opening the banking sector for cannabis-based businesses is necessary, but a government-owned and operated bank in California will only invite more problems and prove disastrous to California’s residents and taxpayers. For a state that is already plagued with so many economic problems, despite its recent budget surplus, the idea of the state running its own bank should worry every person in California.
California should be applauded for thinking creatively, especially in the face of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ worrying statements on cannabis policy, but a taxpayer-funded and politician-led bank with total control over the cannabis industry is inviting trouble.
The best approach for providing banking services for the cannabis industry in the state of California is to open up regulations at the federal and state level to give entrepreneurs some clear guidelines. A state-controlled bank will only invite scandal and mismanagement, and significantly limit growth for the industry in the long term.
YAËL OSSOWSKI is the Deputy Director for the Consumer Choice Center (CCC). The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe, closely monitors regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and informs and activates consumers to fight for consumer choice.