This time it’s different, right?

So you’re saying there’s a chance?

After passing the U.S. House of Representatives seven times before ultimately stalling in the U.S. Senate, the SAFE(R) Banking Act – which re-risks federally-insured financial institutions from banking the federally-illegal cannabis sector – appears to be on the verge of passing the Senate


However, for the first time this legislation – which can do for the cannabis industry what the 1996 Telecommunications Act did for the Internet – must pass a House of Representatives run by a republican party not historically keen on reefer. 

“The house will be an upcoming challenge,” explained Cresco Labs CEO Charlie Bachtell, who also chairs a leading industry advocacy group focused on federal and state cannabis policy. 

At least for as long as the federal government is operational in 2023, cannabis will be on the table as an issue. Combined with the August 30 letter from The Biden Administration’s Department of the Health and Human Services to the Drug Enforcement Agency advocating rescheduling cannabis from Schedule 1 (no medicinal value) to Schedule 3 (validated benefits), the cannabis industry has had tailwinds not felt since the first half of 2022. 

At the very least, the potential for regulatory relief is serving as a smelling salt for beleaguered cannabis investors, executives and entrepreneurs smarting from the evaporation of 75 percent plus of their publicly traded and / or private equity-marked valuations during that time period. 

Funny how quickly smelling salts can revert to sugar highs, however. 

After nearly 18 months of a draught in doobie deals, venture capitalists – buoyed by rising share prices of the dozen plus publicly traded cannabis corporations in the U.S. – are whipping out their checkbooks saying they are focused on “value deals”. New money at valuations a fraction of what they were two years ago is being dispensed by early-stage institutional investors, family offices and canna – curious individuals believing we have hit bottom.

One precocious associate at an institutional VC with a position in Dutchie – a dispensary software provider in fall of 2021 was valued at $3.75 billion – still can justify a value north of $2  billion.

We shall see. In any event, the next six weeks should be an exciting or at least healing time for many industry veterans and new to the scene cannabis professionals who can afford to exhale and remind themselves of what that feels like. 

Rest Easy with Grown In… 

While not a capital provider, Grown In is your place to learn, share and chill. Just ask our friends at Chillinois.

The full 75-minute conversation between Cole Preston and Brad Spirrison – where they discuss J.B. Pritzker’s Bezinga address among other post-conference highlights can be found here

Grown In Event Calendar

October 5: Grown In’s Illinois Cannabis Conference at Lacuna Lofts in Pilsen from 10am to 3pm. Participating cultivators and brands include Curaleaf, Green Thumb Industries, Ascend Wellness Holdings, Aeriz, IESO, 4Front, Kaviar, 1937,  Enliven, Contract Canna, Connect Wellness, Nature’s Grace and Wellness, and The Bettering Company among others.

We appreciate the Illinois Department of Finance and Professional Regulation socializing this opportunity to recently licensed Illinois retail, infuser and craft grower operators participating in the event. Scheduled meetings are sold out, and there are limited GA tickets available. 

October 8: The 1937 Foundation Presents KVL Flower Ball at Cine Studios in Little Village. The annual KVL Flower Ball is an unprecedented culture, fashion and community experience! Tickets for the Expo, Fashion Show and other delights are still available. 

October 10-12: MJ Unpacked comes to Detroit with the mission to Spark Your Expansion. Grown In will be there with aplomb among other surprises. 

The Burn ‘Em Plan Executive Summary

Recently Grown In convened a summit of leaders from local and national cannabis industry leaders or an all-day summit and planning session to discuss what it will take to help the cannabis industry in Chicago and Illinois reach its full potential.

Discover what they say it will take to fortify Chicago’s leadership position in commercial cannabis, drive innovation and job creation, and grow economic opportunities in Chicago and beyond.

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Brad Spirrison is a journalist, serial entrepreneur and media ecologist. He lives in Chicago with his son. Interests include music, meditation and Miles Davis.