Freetown, MA AmeriCann, Inc., a cannabis company that is developing cultivation, processing and manufacturing facilities, commented on the upcoming hearing on the SAFE Banking Act and the positive outlook for federal cannabis legislation.
Sponsored by a bi-partisan group of 31 senators, the SAFE Banking Act would give cannabis businesses, operating in states where cannabis is legal, access to banking and financial services. It would also protect banks that offer these services to regulated cannabis businesses. The hearing is scheduled for today with Democratic senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) and representatives from the financial and cannabis industries scheduled to testify.
"After decades of advocacy and cannabis policy development, we are experiencing overwhelming public support for medical and adult-access cannabis in the U.S.," said AmeriCann CEO Tim Keogh. "Making it possible for cannabis businesses to access capital and other banking services like all other legal businesses would clear the way for greater innovation and growth in the industry."
According to a Gallup poll conducted in October 2018, 66% of Americans now support the legalization of recreational cannabis. Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states and recreationally legal in 11 of those states plus Washington D.C.
"Millions of Americans still do not have access to medical cannabis," said Ben Barton, founder of AmeriCann. "One of the major benefits to the end of cannabis prohibition is that it should accelerate the number of states that embrace and regulate medical cannabis and expand the availability of safe, effective medicine for patients. Eliminating banking and financial barriers will serve as a major catalyst for this industry."
AmeriCann is nearing completion on the first of three buildings in its Massachusetts Marijuana Center (MCC) being developed on a 52-acre parcel located in Southeastern Massachusetts. The MCC project is permitted for 987,000 s/f of cannabis cultivation and processing infrastructure for the existing medical cannabis and the newly emerging adult-use cannabis marketplace.
AmeriCanns Cannopy System, which will be used at the MCC, enables cannabis to be produced with a greatly reduced carbon footprint, making the final product cost less with higher margins. AmeriCann uses hybrid-greenhouse technology, which is superior to the current industry standard of growing cannabis in warehouse facilities under artificial lights. According to industry experts, by capturing natural sunlight, greenhouses use 25% fewer lights, and utility bills are up to 75% less than in typical warehouse cultivation facilities. Massachusetts has some of the highest energy costs in the nation, providing an even greater advantage to the MCC.
AmeriCann plans to replicate the brands, technology and innovations developed at its MCC project to new markets as a licensed multi-state operator (MSO).
As the first approved adult-use cannabis market on the Eastern U.S., Massachusetts has the potential to become the epicenter for cannabis innovation and research. According to the Cannabis Control Commission, Massachusetts recreational dispensaries have sold more than $170 million worth of cannabis products since recreational sales began in November 2018. Annual recreational retail sales are expected to total $1.3-1.6 billion in a few years, according to Marijuana Business Daily estimates.