Los Angeles to Consider Public Bank for Housing and Cannabis

Voters will decide in November on the creation of a cannabis-friendly, publicly owned bank to invest in affordable housing.

1 minute read

July 7, 2018, 11:00 AM PDT

By Elana Eden


Marijuana

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Los Angeles is hoping to get into the banking business. A measure on the November 6 ballot would allow the city to charter its own publicly owned bank, which would pursue investments in the public interest.

The municipal bank would be open to California's newly legal cannabis industry, which struggles to find financing from commercial banks. Investments would go toward affordable housing and small businesses, according to the proposal from Council President Herb Wesson"A municipal bank would have as its mission to reinvest in the community, fund the construction of affordable housing, and finance small business and entrepreneurs," Wesson told The Planning Report in December.

If successful, L.A.'s would be the first public bank in the U.S. in a century; the only one currently in existence is the Bank of North Dakota, established in 1919. But Los Angeles Times writer James Koren notes that the model "has gained steam since the financial crisis and lately seen an influx of support from the cannabis industry." Oakland, San Francisco, and the state of California are also studying the idea.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018 in Los Angeles Times

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