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Opinion: How banking reform could minimize illicit marijuana market

Sundie Seefried (Photo courtesy of Safe Harbor Financial)

Illicit marijuana operations are booming across the country and have been undercutting regulated companies awaiting banking and tax reform.

The unregulated cannabis market in the United States is estimated to be worth roughly $60 billion, with the state-regulated sector coming in at a little more than half that number, according to Colorado-based market intelligence firm BDSA.

This presents serious challenges for businesses as well as serious concerns for consumers.

In 2022, the New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association released a report that revealed the presence of contaminants such as E. coli, pesticides, heavy metals and salmonella in 40% of unregulated marijuana products, which are still sold across the state.

Many of the products tested also contained different amounts of THC than was advertised on the label; in one case, a product contained double the amount of THC listed.


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