SACRAMENTO – State Treasurer John Chiang today released a report outlining steps California can take to address the lack of banking services that force much of the cannabis industry to operate in cash.
“It is unfair and a public safety risk to require a legal industry to haul duffle bags of cash to pay taxes, employees and utility bills,” said Chiang. “The reliance on cash paints a target on the back of cannabis operators and makes them and the general public vulnerable to violence and organized crime.”
The Treasurer’s report comes two months before California begins a new era by legalizing the commercial sale of recreational cannabis on January 1, 2018. Voters overwhelmingly sanctioned this new industry in 2016 when they passed Proposition 64.
Legalizing adult-use cannabis is projected to generate annual sales exceeding $7 billion and an estimated $1 billion a year in tax revenues.
The findings in the detailed study released Tuesday were distilled from six public hearings of the Treasurer’s 18-person Cannabis Banking Working Group, whose members included representatives from local and state government, the cannabis industry, financial institutions and law enforcement.