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January 26
1990 - "Duplicates" premieres at L.A. Phil; concerto by CalArts Music School dean Mel Powell wins Pulitzer Prize [story]
Mel Powell


By Martin Macias Jr. and Matthew Renda

SACRAMENTO – Creating a public bank capable of handling marijuana-related business is “too risky,” the Cannabis Banking Work Group said in a hearing in Sacramento Thursday.

“Many California businesses are left in legal limbo and their business remains illegal at a federal level,” California Treasurer John Chiang, who chaired the work group, said.

At the hearing, the group released the results of its 151-page report attempting to assess the feasibility of establishing a public bank – which would give the hundreds of businessmen and women in California’s approximately $8 billion marijuana industry a means to write checks, use credit cards, perform electronic transfers and use other banking services.

According to the report, collecting billions of dollars in tax revenue in cash imperils the state employees who have to work with it. In addition, law enforcement would benefit from a more transparent banking system that would help officials better distinguish between legal operators and those who continue to distribute marijuana through the black market.

“Large amounts of cash make cannabis businesses, their employees, and their customers targets of violent crime,” the report says.

“Normal access to banking services is an essential part of taking the cannabis industry out of the shadows and establishing it as a transparent, regulated, tax-paying part of the California economy,” it adds.

Still, report consultant William Roetzheim said the civil and legal risks California officials could face for opening a state bank are “off the charts.”

That’s because of the $1 billion in startup capital the federal government would require if it approved California’s application for a state bank. The bank would cost millions to launch and lose significant chunks of money over the next 12 years, according to projections outlined in the report.

That money would come from the state’s general fund, by way of a state-created holding company, which Roetzheim said could pose “residual risk going in the other direction” in the form of federal charges of money laundering and illegal use of funds.

“The fact that cannabis remains a schedule one illegal drug at the federal level, in the same class as heroin and LSD, places a ‘Sword of Damocles’ over the state,” the report says.

Even if the state bank was successful, California wouldn’t see dividends until 2050 or 2055, according to the report. The bank’s assets could also be subject to foreclosure and its employees subject to federal criminal charges.

“It’s not a very attractive horizon,” Roetzheim said.

Further clouding the issue is the possibility that federal regulators could ease or remove prohibitions on marijuana, something openly discussed by several Democratic politicians eyeing the White House — such as Senators Corey Booker from New Jersey and Kamala Harris from California.

John Boehner, former Republican Speaker of the House, has come out in favor of marijuana legalization as well, seeing it as a catalyst for economic growth.

“You never know what the federal government is going to do,” Roetzheim said. “They may crack down and put people in jail. But there is so much momentum that we don’t think the feds will stay with the current approach forever.”

Federal legalization could dramatically reduce the demand for a California public bank – which would leave California taxpayers holding the bag if the state’s return on its initial billion dollar capitalization never materialized.

Roetzheim said researchers rigorously studied alternatives to the cannabis bank idea – such as using electronic banking apps, purchasing an existing bank or going through public credit unions – but ultimately ruled them out.

“No state-backed bank is feasible. All alternatives fail,” Roetzheim said. “There is no good option here.”

State leaders determined to establish a state bank could seek a remedy through the judicial branch.

“Gay marriage became law through the court system, not through legislative action,” Roetzheim said.

In the meantime, the report recommends short-term solutions such as finding methods to make handling and managing the marijuana-related cash payments easier and encouraging existing private financial institutions to make services available for the fledgling industry.

As the working group considers potential public-private partnerships for the possibility of a state bank, California Department of Business Oversight Commissioner Jan Lynn Owen – herself a member of the group – said it should review the data collected at the county level and by local jurisdictions dealing with the cannabis industry.

“I see the value in this,” Owen said. “We have to continue exploring options.”

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SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Tuesday, Jan 25, 2022
Big Chicken Franchise to Open Location in Valencia
Big Chicken, the star-powered chicken concept founded by legendary basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, announced today it has signed a franchise agreement with chiropractor Dr. Pat Khaziran and his business partner and Southern California restaurateur Andy Gitipityapon to open a location in Valencia.
Monday, Jan 24, 2022
Rudi Sodamin Named Princess Cruises’ Culinary Arts Head
Princess Cruises announced Monday Chef Rudi Sodamin will become its first head of culinary arts, effective immediately.
Monday, Jan 24, 2022
Monday COVID Roundup: Two Additional Deaths at Henry Mayo, 204 to Date
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital reported two additional deaths from COVID-19 Monday, bringing the total number to 204 since the onset of the pandemic, confirmed spokesman Patrick Moody. (One of those deaths was recorded Sunday).
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Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1990 - "Duplicates" premieres at L.A. Phil; concerto by CalArts Music School dean Mel Powell wins Pulitzer Prize [story]
Mel Powell
The Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley’s Empower Hour will be held virtually at noon, Saturday, Feb. 5 on Zoom.
Feb. 5: Zonta Club of SCV Hosts Virtual Empower Hour on Child Marriage
The Sierra Hillbillies Square Dance Club will kick off Super Bowl celebrations a week early at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 6.
Feb. 6: Sierra Hillbillies Square Dance Club Hosting Super Sunday Tailgate Party
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital reported Tuesday one additional death from COVID-19 Monday, bringing the total number to 205 since the onset of the pandemic, confirmed spokesman Patrick Moody. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed 36 additional deaths and 18,822 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 65,938 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Tuesday COVID Roundup: Henry Mayo Reports One Death, Daily Cases, Hospitalizations Decline in L.A. County
Supervisor Kathryn Barger has voiced her strong opposition to a motion passed by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to extend and expand emergency renter eviction protections through 2023.
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The WiSH Education Foundation will offer a new Webinar Wednesday as part of it’s WiSH webinar year-round series for college bound students.
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No. 6 College of the Canyons women’s basketball team won its fourth straight game 54-47 over West L.A. College at the Cougar Cage on Saturday, as Monique Febles finished with 17 points and LuLu Salloom pulled down 21 rebounds to keep COC in the win column.
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The Los Angeles County Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission is looking for qualified applicants to fill the community represented role of Commissioner. Deadline for applications is Feb. 1.
L.A. Country Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission Seeks Applicants
Nominees for the 53rd NAACP Image Awards include CalArtians honored across several categories, including Outstanding Actor, Outstanding Animated Motion Picture, Outstanding Short Form (Animiated), Outstanding Children’s Program and Outstanding Animated Series.
CalArtians Among 2022 NAACP Image Award Nominees
Big Chicken, the star-powered chicken concept founded by legendary basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, announced today it has signed a franchise agreement with chiropractor Dr. Pat Khaziran and his business partner and Southern California restaurateur Andy Gitipityapon to open a location in Valencia.
Big Chicken Franchise to Open Location in Valencia
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced an extension of unlimited access to myON digital books and daily news articles for students in California until Monday, Feb. 28, 2022.
Extension of Unlimited Renaissance Digital Reading Partnership Announced by State
1915 - Death of pre-Mentry oilman & San Francisquito vintner Ramon Perea [story]
Perea grave marker
The Santa Clarita City Council will hold its regular meeting Tuesday, Jan. 25, beginning with a closed session at 5:00 p.m., followed immediately by open session at 6:00 p.m.
Jan. 25: Santa Clarita City Council Regular Meeting
Princess Cruises announced Monday Chef Rudi Sodamin will become its first head of culinary arts, effective immediately.
Rudi Sodamin Named Princess Cruises’ Culinary Arts Head
The city of Santa Clarita’s Film Office released the 11 productions currently filming in the Santa Clarita Valley for the week of Monday, Jan. 24 - Sunday, Jan. 30.
Filming in Santa Clarita Includes 11 Productions
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital reported two additional deaths from COVID-19 Monday, bringing the total number to 204 since the onset of the pandemic, confirmed spokesman Patrick Moody. (One of those deaths was recorded Sunday).
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Californians may now opt to receive vehicle registration renewal notices by email instead of a paper notice by traditional mail.
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1888 - Acton post office established; Richard E. Nickel, postmaster [story]
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1882 - Author Helen Hunt Jackson visits Rancho Camulos; inspiration for "Ramona" novel [story]
HH Jackson
Los Angeles County Assessor Jeff Prang announced a corroborative effort with County Public Health officials that will include free COVID-19 vaccinations, booster shots, and PCR testing at three District Offices on Monday Jan. 24, Wednesday Jan. 26 and Sunday Jan. 30.
Free COVID PCR Testing, Vaccines Offered at L.A. County Assessor Offices
1839 - Gov. Juan B. Alvarado gives most of SCV to Mexican Army Lt. Antonio del Valle. [story]
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The Castaic Union School District is proud to announce that the Jene Fielder Trust Scholarship Program is now accepting applications. The program is open to past and present students of Castaic Middle School.
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The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control will teams up with Best Friends Animal Society to encourage county residents to “Live Large” with Adopt a Big Dog Special Discounts for large dogs through Jan. 31.
L.A. County Animal Care & Control Offers Big Dog Adoption Discounts
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Friday 65 additional deaths and 43,091 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 63,320 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Friday COVID Roundup: Additional COVID Death Reported at Henry Mayo
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