US (CO): Governor urges senators to pass cannabis banking and tax reform before tackling legalization

The governor of Colorado on Friday sent a letter to the Senate sponsors of a federal cannabis legalization bill, urging them to pass incremental cannabis banking and tax reform first before moving forward with the comprehensive legislation to end prohibition.

Gov. Jared Polis (D) is supportive of the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA)—a bill to deschedule cannabis and promote social equity that’s being sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ). But he insisted that there are more modest and practical steps that should be taken first to support state-legal markets and protect businesses.

“I am thrilled that you are bringing forward a long-term, comprehensive solution that deschedules cannabis while enhancing social equity pathways,” the governor wrote. “I hope that you will first focus your efforts on the two biggest barriers to the success of the cannabis industry: banking and IRS Code Section 280E.”

That latter statute has precluded state-legal cannabis businesses from making federal tax deductions that are available to other traditional industries.


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