Top Cannabis Executives Comment on House Passage of SAFE Banking Act
UPDATED: 9/26/19 at 4:03 PM ET with additions from Chemistree, iAnthus
The Dank Investor has compiled statements from top cannabis executives in response to the successful passing of House Resolution 1595, The Secure and Fair Enforcement Act of 2019 (“Safe Banking Act”).
On September 25, 2019 the United States House of Representatives voted 321-103 to pass the Safe Banking Act, the first major floor vote in Washington, D.C. for any cannabis reform legislation. The vote serves as a turning point for the industry with the Safe Banking Act opening the door for financial institutions to establish formal banking relationships with clients in the legal cannabis industry.
“The passage of the SAFE Banking Act by the U.S. House of Representatives represents a significant first step in the effort to provide stability and security to the multibillion-dollar cannabis industry,” said Cresco Labs CEO and Co-founder Charlie Bachtell.
“By allowing cannabis companies to access commercial banking services and end their reliance on cash, the SAFE Banking Act would facilitate a safer operating environment for all stakeholders. We continue to see extremely encouraging progress made from a legislative standpoint at both the federal and state levels that is contributing to the normalization of the cannabis industry. The passage of the SAFE Banking Act will also provide access to banking and capital to fuel diversity and make the cannabis industry more inclusive for everyone. The bipartisan support shown in passing the SAFE Banking Act through the House demonstrates the clear merits of this legislation, and we look forward to similar support being shown as the bill moves to the Senate.”
Cresco Labs (CSE: CL) (OTCQX: CRLBF) is one of the largest vertically-integrated multi-state cannabis operators in the United States. Cresco is built to become the most important company in the cannabis industry by combining the most strategic geographic footprint with one of the leading distribution platforms in North America. Employing a consumer-packaged goods (“CPG”) approach to cannabis, Cresco’s house of brands is designed to meet the needs of all consumer segments and includes some of the most recognized and trusted national brands including Cresco, Remedi and Mindy’s, a line of edibles created by James Beard Award-winning chef Mindy Segal. Sunnyside*, Cresco’s national dispensary brand, is a wellness-focused retailer designed to build trust, education and convenience for both existing and new cannabis consumers. Recognizing that the cannabis industry is poised to become one of the leading job creators in the country, Cresco has launched the industry’s first national comprehensive Social Equity and Educational Development (SEED) initiative designed to ensure that all members of society have the skills, knowledge and opportunity to work in and own businesses in the cannabis industry.
“The historic passage of the SAFE Banking Act by the U.S. House of Representatives is an important first step in the process toward normalizing the cannabis industry’s ability to transact. If ratified, the bill will increase the safety of our operations for our patients, customers and employees by reducing the reliance on cash and promoting transparency. This is incredibly important legislation for an industry that represents approximately $50 billion in sales per year and is expected to grow to $80 billion in sales by 2030, according to Cowen. In addition to normalizing the industry, the bill also provides more access to capital for cannabis businesses of all sizes, which will support social equity in our industry. We applaud the members of the House for their leadership in passing this important bill with bipartisan support and look forward to gaining support in the Senate,” said Curaleaf CEO Joseph Lusardi.
Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. (CSE: CURA) (OTCQX: CURLF) is a leading vertically integrated multi-state cannabis operator in the United States. It is a high-growth cannabis company with a national brand known for quality, trust and reliability. The company is positioned in highly populated, limited license states, and currently operates in 12 states with 49 dispensaries, 14 cultivation sites and 13 processing sites. Curaleaf has the executive expertise and research and development capabilities to provide leading service, selection, and accessibility across the medical and adult-use markets, as well as in the CBD category through its Curaleaf Hemp brand.
“We are encouraged by today’s historic vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on H.B. 1595, the SAFE Banking Act, particularly as it relates to the hemp and CBD industries. The bill, if enacted, would provide protections for banks conducting business with hemp- and CBD- related businesses,” said Pieter Sikkel, President, CEO & Chairman.
“The bill would open doors to tremendous opportunities for these nascent industries – from the farmer to the processor to the retailer — that have, to date, encountered reluctance from financial institutions to engage in financial transactions despite the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. We are grateful for the broad, bi-partisan support from the House and urge lawmakers to vote in favor of the SAFE Banking Act as the bill progresses through the Senate.”
Pyxus International Inc. (NYSE: PYX) is a global agricultural company with 145 years' experience delivering value-added products and services to businesses and customers. Driven by a united purpose—to transform people's lives, so that together we can grow a better world—Pyxus International, its subsidiaries and affiliates, are trusted providers of responsibly sourced, independently verified, sustainable and traceable products and ingredients.
“This evening saw a milestone moment for our industry with the overwhelming and bipartisan passage of the SAFE Banking Act by the House of Representatives,” commented Kevin Murphy, Chairman and CEO of Acreage. “The bill, which would deliver access to traditional banking services for the over 10,000 legal cannabis businesses in the U.S., promotes the safety, transparency and certainty that the cannabis industry, the fastest growing sector of the U.S. economy, needs to prosper.”
“Candidly, Acreage enjoys the scale and reputation to afford us what most others don’t have; there are basic financial barriers standing in the way for smaller businesses trying to break in and create wealth and opportunity. As an industry leader, we have been advocating for the SAFE Banking Act to help deliver it to them. Today’s vote is a signal that Washington is beginning to catch up with the states and the fastest growing industry in our country. Onward to the Senate, which we are optimistic will pass the SAFE Banking Act.”
Acreage Holdings, Inc. (CSE: ACRG.U) (OTCQX: ACRGF) (FSE: 0VZ) is one of the largest vertically integrated, multi-state operators of cannabis licenses and assets in the U.S., according to publicly available information. Acreage owns licenses to operate or has management or consulting services or other agreements in place with license holders to assist in operations in 20 states (including pending acquisitions) with a population of approximately 180 million Americans, and an estimated 2022 total addressable market of $16.7 billion in legal cannabis sales, according to Arcview Market Research. Acreage is dedicated to building and scaling operations to create a seamless, consumer-focused branded cannabis experience. Acreage's national retail store brand, The Botanist, debuted in 2018.
Harvest Health & Recreation, Inc.
“At Harvest, our goal is to increase accessibility to our high-quality, trusted cannabis products to patients and customers nationwide, and to do so, our industry must be able to safely and securely conduct business. The U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of the SAFE Banking Act is a significant step in the right direction,” said Harvest Executive Chairman Jason Vedadi.
“This legislation will provide safety and security to the customers, patients, caregivers and employees that benefit from our industry. It will enable cannabis companies and those working with them to decrease their dependence on cash and allow them to utilize our nation’s robust financial resources. The bill will improve access to capital for all companies, large and small, and entrepreneurs from all backgrounds, ultimately increasing our industry’s diversity, inclusion and social equity. Further the bill will help discourage the illicit market by normalizing banking and bringing more transparency. We are thrilled to see such bipartisan support and are eager to work with lawmakers to create an atmosphere in which the cannabis industry can continue to thrive and we can share the goodness of cannabis with all Americans.”
Harvest Health & Recreation, Inc. (CSE: HARV) (OTCQX: HRVSF) is a multi-state cannabis operator (MSO) and vertically-integrated cannabis company. Subject to completion of announced acquisitions, Harvest will have one of the largest footprints in the U.S., with rights to more than 210 facilities, of which approximately 130 are retail locations, and more than 1,700 employees across 18 states and territories. Since 2011, the company has been committed to expanding its Harvest House of Cannabis retail and wholesale presence throughout the U.S., acquiring, creating and growing leading brands for patients and consumers nationally and continuing on a path of profitable growth. Harvest's mission is to improve lives through the goodness of cannabis and is focused on its vision to become the most valuable cannabis company in the world.
“We are extremely uplifted by the House vote on the SAFE Banking Act, but there is still work to be done,” said Andrew Berman, CEO of Harborside. “The Senate needs to swiftly act to adopt similar banking protections. In addition, Congress needs to approve the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act that would start to repair the damage done by the decades of prohibition.”
The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and take steps to begin repairing the harms of the war on drugs. The bill is sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), who has already signaled that he is committed to advancing it through the House.
“Harborside’s customers, employees and investors have been directly impacted by the lack of adequate access to banking,” said Nichols. “Passage of the SAFE Banking Act and Chairman Nadler’s commitment to advancing a broader agenda of federal reform are very positive signs that we are closer than ever to decriminalization and meaningful reform.”
Harborside Inc. (CSE: HBOR) is one of the oldest and most respected cannabis retailers in California, operating two of the major dispensaries in the San Francisco Bay Area, two dispensaries in Oregon and a cultivation facility in Salinas, California. Harborside has played an instrumental role in making cannabis safe and accessible to a broad and diverse community of California consumers. Co-founded by Steve DeAngelo and dress wedding in 2006, Harborside was awarded one of the first six medical cannabis licenses granted in the United States.
Nutritional High International
“Banking reform is a major step towards the recognition of cannabis as a legitimate industry,” stated Adam Szweras, CEO of Nutritional High. “We are proud of the House for making the logical decision and encouraged by the levels of bipartisan support that the Bill received. Should the Bill pass into law, it would be the first step towards federal legalization and a major boon for MSOs like ourselves. Easier access to funding and the potential opening of state borders would position Nutritional High to leverage its robust multi-state footprint and be a major player in the greater domestic cannabis industry.”
Nutritional High (CSE: EAT) (OTCQB: SPLIF) is focused on developing, manufacturing and distributing products under recognized brands in the cannabis products industry, with a specific focus on edibles and oil extracts for medical and adult recreational use. The Company works exclusively with licensed facilities in jurisdictions where such activity is permitted and regulated by state law.The Company follows a vertically integrated model with a fully developed strategy for acquisitions in extraction, production, sales, and distribution sectors of the cannabis industry. Nutritional High has brought its flagship FLÏ™ edibles and extracts product line from production to market through its wholly owned subsidiaries in California and Oregon, as well as Colorado where its FLÏ™ products are manufactured by a third-party licensed producer. In California, the Company distributes its products and products manufactured by other leading producers through its wholly owned distributor Calyx Brands Inc. and is entering the Nevada, Washington State and Canadian markets in the near future.
“Chemistree decided early in its history to focus on developing its business in the legal cannabis industry in certain states in the US. Members of our management team, our Board of Directors and major shareholders have long been significant influencers in the legal cannabis industry in the United States.” commented president Karl Kottmeier.
“Yesterday’s passage of the SAFE Banking Act by the U.S. House of Representatives is not only a huge vote of confidence for them in their efforts but also an crucial first step in the process of securing and simplifying financial transactions in the legal U.S. cannabis industry.”
Chemistree Technology Inc. (CSE: CHM) (CSE: CHM.wt) (US OTCQB: CHMJF) is an investment company dedicated to the U.S. cannabis sector, endeavoring to provide turn-key solutions for the regulated cannabis industry. The Company's corporate strategy is to acquire and develop vertically integrated cannabis assets, leveraging management's decades of expertise in the cannabis industry and corporate finance to own and operate licensed cultivation, processing, distribution and retail facilities.
“Because cannabis remains federally illegal, banks have been reluctant to provide banking services to state-legal cannabis industry operators. This has made it difficult for cannabis businesses to obtain banking services and has led in many states to cannabis businesses having to deal with the threats associated with handling excessive amounts of cash. The SAFE Banking Act is intended to remedy the lack of access to normal business banking that is currently experienced by cannabis businesses operating in states with medical and adult use cannabis regulatory programs. The bill would prevent banking regulators from penalizing institutions that provide banking services to state-legal cannabis businesses, thus removing the regulatory risk that deters banks from servicing the cannabis industry,” said Randy Maslow, President of iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc.
“The historical passage of the SAFE Banking Act is a critical step in opening up banking services to the cannabis industry, which is required for the long-term health and safety of the cannabis industry. In addition to improving safety for industry employees and patients, the SAFE Act promotes transparency and regulatory compliance, thereby making the jobs of taxing authorities and regulators easier. The SAFE Act may also promote equity in the cannabis industry by creating better access to capital and reducing the artificially high banking costs that currently plague the industry, thereby permitting a wider-range of people to become part of the industry. We are hopeful that the strong bipartisan support in the House will bode well for the bill as it makes its way to the Senate.”
iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc. (CSE: IAN) (OTCQX: ITHUF) owns and operates best-in-class licensed cannabis cultivation, processing and dispensary facilities throughout the United States, providing investors diversified exposure to the U.S. regulated cannabis industry. Founded by entrepreneurs with decades of experience in operations, investment banking, corporate finance, law and health care services, iAnthus provides a unique combination of capital and hands-on operating and management expertise. iAnthus currently has operations in 11 states, and operates 27 dispensaries (FL-9, AZ-4, MA-1, MD-3, NY-2, CO-1, VT-1 and NM-6 where iAnthus has minority ownership).