Meanwhile, California State Treasurer John Chiang has formed a Cannabis Banking Working Group to determine what to do with the cannabis cash that will be rolling into "pot shops" in January, after Prop. 64 legalized the herb for popular use. It is expected to be a $7 billion business generating a potential $1 billion in tax revenues; but it is a business with nowhere to bank, due to the federal ban on the herb. On August 10, the Treasurer is holding a workshop open to the public, featuring public banking veterans Marc Armstrong, Matt Stannard and Gwen Hallsmith among others. It will be held at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel on Century Blvd. in Los Angeles and will run from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 or 2 p.m. It should be good!
The LA City Council is on the move as well, also mobilized by the need to find a bank for the coming onslaught of cannabis cash. On July 26th, the City Council actually brought a motion to create a state-chartered public bank for the city! Besides solving the cannabis problem, Council President Herb Wesson said in a speech at City Hall that a municipal bank could provide financing to small businesses and developers of affordable housing, among other public uses. A major push for the bank came from a vibrant grassroots movement called RevolutionLA, which, as in Seattle, is an outgrowth of the push for divestiture from Wells Fargo. The city’s own bank is a natural alternative.