As we’ve made clear time and time again, Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific supports small business owners of all varieties. In particular, three of the states within our purview are home to a very specific industry: cannabis.
BBB NW+P’s territory includes Oregon, Washington and Alaska, which are three of the 11 states that now allow for recreational marijuana sales. Michigan was just added to that list over Thanksgiving weekend and is the first state in the Midwest to do so.
Being based in Portland, OR, cannabis culture is extremely familiar. There are a growing number of businesses in the cannabis community not just in this state, but across the nation. You don’t even have to try anymore to find a marijuana-related headline in national or regional news.
So, I feel it necessary to offer insights into this industry every once in a while, especially as BBBNW+P adds new cannabis companies to our accredited business roster.
Recently, The Seattle Times caught my eye with a report stating marijuana use tops nicotine in the Seattle-metro area at 17% to 16%, respectively. Seattle is just one of three cities where this is the case. The others, you ask? Portland and San Francisco.
This news came a mere 12 days after an even more circulated headline: ‘Cannabis Legalization Bill Passes Historic First House Committee Vote.’ This is in reference to the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act – or the MORE Act.
This new bill looks to end cannabis prohibition, removing it as a controlled substance all together, effectively decriminalizing the plant at the federal level. This could make way for federal banking, loan programs and interstate trade.
The bill also does two other important things:
- Requires the federal government to review and potentially expunge previous or current cannabis offense convictions that were nonviolent.
- Establishes a 5% federal tax on marijuana that would be used to fund the newly created Opportunity Trust Fund, which would be used to assist communities that have been disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs.
While this is music to many ears—at least 66% of the population who are in favor of legal marijuana – it’s an uphill battle. One that might prove impossible to win.
Political experts predict the MORE Act is “dead on arrival” when it reaches the Senate. Assuming first the bill passes the House floor, which is promising, it has very little chance of winning approval under Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. If you want the full political details, click here.
At Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific, we aim to provide business owners with the resources and education they need relative to their niche, not to sway political opinion. An informed business owner is a savvy business owner, and that’s the headline we’re here for.