Cannabis entrepreneurs and industry professionals will gather on Thursday at the Capitol Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. for a two-day conference that aims to address the vast financial and banking challenges facing the growing weed sector.
Though 47 U.S. states have now legalized cannabis in some form, most pot businesses still struggle to access basic financial services — from opening a bank account to securing a loan.
The Payments, Banking, and Compliance Conference (PBE) — formerly known as the Avantpay conference — will bring together more than 600 industry professionals and 150 organizations to tackle banking issues through a series of speeches and discussions.
This year’s event will feature keynotes from two members of Congress: Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C.’s lone delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, and Rep. Barbara Lee, a Democrat from California.
Norton is a longtime pot advocate who has routinely pushed for federal legislation to lift restrictions on cannabis over the last decade. She was an original sponsor of the MORE Act, a bill that would decriminalize pot at the federal level while expunging cannabis-related convictions.
Lee, who co-chairs the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, has also advocated for cannabis reform, most recently by urging President Biden to issue a blanket pardon to people with nonviolent cannabis offenses.
Other keynote speakers will include: Rodney Hood, a board member from the National Credit Union Administration; De Lon Harris, an IRS commissioner from the agency’s Small Business and Self-Employed division; and former IRS Commissioner Eric Hylton, who previously led the same IRS division.
Panels this year will hit on a wide-array of topics that include federal regulation, private equity investing, accounting and taxes, and the emergence of industry-specific technologies like Seed-to-Sale tracking software. Attendees will have several opportunities to mingle with other industry professionals throughout the event’s built-in networking breaks where coffee and drinks will be served.
All-access tickets to the 2021 PBC Conference can be purchased for $450 on the event’s website. Attendees will be required to wear masks to remain in compliance with D.C.’s coronavirus guidelines.
The Outlaw Report is a Bronze-level sponsor of the 2021 PBC Conference, and will be at the event to show its support for expanding the cannabis industry’s access to financial services.