Week in Review: Cannabis banking confusion, medical marijuana vs. opioids in NY & MMJ defeat in US Tax Court

(This story has been updated from an earlier version to provide a link to an article reviewing the historic recreational legislation in Canada that lays the groundwork for a multibillion-dollar marijuana industry and to include information about U.S. senators voting to block an MJ banking amendment.)

Landmark news comes from Canada this week as it becomes the first G-20 nation to legalize recreational cannabis. Read more about that here.

In the United States, cannabis banking reform advocates get mixed signals, New York plans to allow the use of medical marijuana in lieu of opioids, and U.S. Tax Court denies a Colorado MMJ company’s business deductions.

Here’s a closer look at some notable developments in the cannabis industry over the past week.

One step back, two steps forward

Cannabis-related banking reform in Congress has moved farther into the political limelight with:

Despite the two legislative roadblocks, the support of banking institutions means the political world is that momentum is shifting in the industry’s favor, said Drug Policy Alliance adviser Mike Liszewski.

“The takeaway is, even though there was a defeat last week, I think it was really a show of strength … that reform is being taken very seriously by opposition forces at this point,” he said.

“Based on what I see, things are moving in the direction that ultimately Congress is going to pass some sort of marijuana reform. Probably not this session, but things are looking good for the future.”

Work in Washington DC on behalf of the industry is far from finished, he noted, and there’s still a lot of education that needs to be done to help lawmakers understand the marijuana sector’s obstacles, as well as how those issues can be rectified.

But the backing of the American Bankers Association, the Independent Community Bankers of America and other

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