MJBiz - November/December 2023 - 62

Marijuana
By Chris Roberts
V
erano Holdings Corp. isn't
banking on a tax windfall
in the event that the Biden
administration's push to reschedule
marijuana succeeds.
Nor is the publicly traded multistate
operator making imminent plans to
fl ee the Canadian Securities Exchange
for the New York Stock Exchange or
Nasdaq-although that's something the
Chicago-based company would love to
do as soon as possible, Chief Financial
Offi cer Aaron Miles told MJBizMagazine.
But until Congress takes decisive
action and passes laws that provide
protection for fi nancial institutions
as well as stock exchanges that
do business with plant-touching
marijuana companies, the day U.S.
cannabis fi rms can function as
" normal " businesses is still somewhat
out of reach.
That's true regardless of what comes
of the marijuana-rescheduling push.
" We are asking the government to
formally accept us as a legal entity,
and that's a massive undertaking, "
Miles said.
The rescheduling announcement " is
defi nitely the momentum the space
(needs), " he said. " But we are making
no assumptions in our business model
off of this passing. "
If implemented, health regulators'
Aug. 29 recommendation that
marijuana be moved to Schedule 3 of the
Controlled Substances
Act would solve cannabis
companies' federal
tax woes.
And the
recommendation
should pile pressure
on Congress to pass
reform measures
such as the SAFER
(Secure and Fair
Enforcement
Regulation)
Banking Act.
Banking Act.
But that bill and others
must become law for
marijuana companies to
easily access banks, tap
institutional fi nancing
and list on major
U.S.-based stock
exchanges, according
to legal experts and
marijuana industry
insiders.
" We still need SAFE (or SAFER)
Banking to pass, " said Andrew Kline,
Denver-based senior counsel at
Perkins Coie. " Rescheduling is not
going to fi x that. "
PIECE OF A PUZZLE
Moving marijuana to Schedule 3 of
the CSA means relief from notorious
IRS Section 280E, which prohibits
anyone selling Schedule 1 or 2 drugs
62 November-December 2023 | MJBizMagazine
Money Woes
Executive action might spur Congress to meet
the needs of state-regulated cannabis businesses
in defi ance of
federal or state
law-including
state-regulated MJ
businesses-from
taking many typical
business deductions
on their federal tax
returns.
But rescheduling
doesn't change anything
for the anti-moneylaundering
statutes and other
complications that federal
prohibition poses to the regulated
marijuana industry.
Thus, plant-touching
companies wishing to use riskaverse
major banks or convince
stock exchanges that federal
regulators won't penalize them for
listing a marijuana business will have
to wait for more reform.
" I have not seen or heard any
indication that (rescheduling) is what
these exchanges need to get there, "
said Andrew Freedman, a former
Colorado weed czar who is now
executive director of the Coalition
for Cannabis Policy, Education, and
Regulation.
That's also true for SAFER Banking,
which would at last offer formal
protections to fi nancial institutions
that provide services to state-licensed
marijuana companies.

MJBiz - November/December 2023

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