Chart: Ranks of US banks serving cannabis firms growing, but data may overstate true number

The number of financial institutions actively banking marijuana-related businesses in the United States is rising, but the true number is far fewer than U.S. Treasury data indicates, according to one industry executive.

Data released by the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) shows the number of banks and credit unions actively banking marijuana-related businesses has increased steadily, reaching 633 institutions at the end of the first quarter versus a little more than 400 at the start of 2018.

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The Midwest Is About to Have a Weed Revolution

On Tuesday, Governor J.B. Pritzker made good on one of his signature campaign promises and signed a bill bringing recreational weed to Illinois. Like recent—failed—attempts at legalization in progressive states like New Jersey and New York, the bill was framed as a “reset” of the war on drugs. Among other provisions, it was slated to expunge the records of as many as 800,000 people who have been convicted for purchasing or possessing up to 30 grams of cannabis. It also vowed to pump 25 percent of the tax revenue reaped from commercial sales into historically impoverished neighborhoods, and attempted to systematically encourage minority ownership of licensed pot dispensaries.

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The Most Important Marijuana Growth Chart You’ll Ever See

Right now, few industries offer greater long-term growth potential than the legal marijuana industry. On Wall Street, peak sales projections for the cannabis industry have come in as high as $166 billion. The analyst behind this lofty forecast, Bank of America’s Christopher Carey, also suggests that marijuana could disrupt industries that today combine for $2.6 trillion in annual sales.

It’s these estimates for rapid sales growth that have pushed cannabis stock valuation (at times) into the stratosphere. With tens of billions of dollars’ worth being sold annually in the black market, worldwide weed legalizations could easily move a majority of these sales to legal channels in the years to come. If that’s the case, even the loftiest sales projections from Wall Street over the next 5 or 10 years may be attainable.

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Chart: Marijuana store density surpasses Starbucks & McDonald’s in many mature cannabis markets

As competition between cannabis retailers grows, so does the number of stores in mature markets, where the relative density of marijuana shops has surpassed that of Starbucks in many.
Moving forward, retailers will need to provide consumers a compelling reason to visit and return, such as low prices, exceptional service, quality product selection and convenience.

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