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  • Writer's pictureTed Ohashi

Another positive step for U.S. cannabis companies

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is a nonpartisan agency of the U.S. government that supports the Congressional budget process by providing estimates of the financial and other variables of proposed legislation.

Unlike politically motivated sources, the CBO is objective, impartial and hires employees on the basis of professional expertise with little regard for political affiliations except to limit partisan outside activities. The CBO report is not always focussed on dollars and cents. For example, in analysing a proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the CBO provided an estimate of how many additional Americans would be without health care coverage. These numbers probably had a greater impact on lawmakers than the cost data that the CBO also produced. The CBO does not make policy recommendations based on their reports.

Recently, the CBO provided an estimate on the cost of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Act also known as the Safe Banking Act. We have commented on this act in detail in past commentaries. Safe Banking would basically prevent federal regulators from penalizing (punishing?) banks and credit unions that provide services to the cannabis industry.

What the CBO concluded is if the SAFE Banking Act is passed, the result would be a decrease in net direct spending of $4,000,000 between 2019 and 2029. This is obviously a positive CBO “score” for the SAFE Banking Act. I won’t go through the full analysis except to say it seems detailed and complete.

Although a positive CBO score does not ensure passage of a bill, it certainly helps. This is another step in the right direction for changes to the cannabis laws in the U.S. and another reason I expect cannabis companies operating in the U.S. will outperform those with most of their operations in Canada.

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