L.A. City Report: Creating a Public Bank Would Be a Monumental Challenge

A new report from Los Angeles’ Chief Legislative Analyst has cast doubt on the feasibility of a public bank for marijuana transactions in the City of L.A.

"Formation of [a public bank] under existing law and regulation would be a very difficult process, would be very costly, and would result in an institution that would not likely qualify to receive city business," the report states.

In addition to the “exorbitant” price tag -- estimated in the billions of dollars -- a public city bank would require changes to state and local laws.

Given the difficulties of creating a public owned bank, the Chief Legislative Analyst recommended a set of alternative avenues to pursue. These include lobbying for marijuana decriminalization efforts at the federal level and supporting further study of a public bank at the state level.

City leaders have been discussing a public bank for months as a means to deal with legal marijuana’s notorious ‘cash problem’. Council President Herb Wesson breathed new life into the idea in July while laying out his priorities for his final term on the council. 

Judging from the latest analysis, his term is likely to come and go without seeing this idea come to fruition.

A copy of the report is available here