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New Poll Shows A Majority of Ohio Voters Support Cannabis Legalization, Mastercard Bans Marijuana Transactions with Its Debit Card, and Massachusetts’ Cannabis Industry Social Equity Fund Has No Money

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New Poll Shows A Majority of Ohio Voters Support Cannabis Legalization

A recent survey from USA TODAY Network/Suffolk University shows that the majority of Ohio voters support cannabis legalization. According to the poll, 59 percent of those surveyed support legalizing the possession and sale of marijuana for adults 21 years of age and older. Only 35 percent of survey participants were opposed. Republicans were the least supportive, with only 40 percent favoring legalization. Democrats were strongly in favor of cannabis reform, with 77 percent supporting the change. Almost every age group polled showed majority support as well, except for those individuals 65 and older. The poll results were published as a group of Ohio cannabis activists work to collect the necessary number of signatures to get a marijuana legalization measure on the November ballot.  

Mastercard Bans Marijuana Transactions with Its Debit Card

The recent debit card ban from Mastercard has caused a great deal of upheaval in the cannabis industry and will likely put many licensed cannabis businesses in a difficult financial situation. The company told payment processors and banks to stop permitting cannabis transactions on its debit cards. The policy change will impact medical and recreational cannabis retailers as well as consumers. Mastercard Inc. sent cease-and-desist orders to all participating banks earlier this week. As a result, many medical and adult-use cannabis customers will need to revert to cash-only transactions. Many cannabis businesses struggle with the vulnerability that being a predominantly cash-only industry leaves them in, as they are subject to more robberies and criminal activity. This issue also reminds many businesses that without cannabis banking reform at the federal level, they are still operating with a great deal of financial risk. 

Massachusetts’ Cannabis Industry Social Equity Fund Has No Money

Massachusetts created its Social Equity Trust Fund in August 2022. It was intended to help bring about social equity in the state’s cannabis industry by providing grants and loans to cannabis businesses, particularly those most impacted by prohibition. Money for the fund was to come from the state’s cannabis taxes and fees. However, to date, no money has been deposited in the account. According to the Business Journal, the issue is due to a problem with transferring money from the “Marijuana Regulation Fund”. The 15 percent of state cannabis taxes and fees allocated for the social equity fund must first be moved to a Consolidated New Surplus account before it can go to the fund. In the meantime, state officials are reportedly working on a solution to allow the money to be transferred later this year. The result would be $2 million to $4 million becoming available for the social equity fund.