Whether you favor legalization or not, you should support allowing state-regulated cannabis businesses to access banking services. Forcing companies to be cash-only endangers public safety and encourages tax evasion. Even if you are anti-cannabis, surely you want cannabis retailers, producers, and processors to pay their tax burden and only a sociopath would want to encourage robberies in our neighborhoods by leaving large amounts of cash in dispensaries. Providing federal banking access to cannabis businesses has broad support in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives with 164 Democrats and 20 Republicans signed on as co-sponsors, but moving such legislation through the GOP-led Senate will be more difficult with Republican chairman of the Senate Banking Committee Mike Crapo noncommittal. Two GOP Senators are hopeful, however, as reported by Marijuana Moment:
Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Rand Paul (R-KY) both told Marijuana Moment they discussed the cannabis banking legislation with Crapo and are hopeful he will bring the bill forward.
“I’ve talked with Senator Crapo about it,” said Sen. Paul. “I think there’s a good chance they’re going to bring it up.”
The proposal—the Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act—could be the first piece of standalone cannabis legislation to pass Congress, and has bipartisan support in both chambers. If enacted, it would provide an avenue for banks to open accounts for and offer loans to cannabis businesses in states where marijuana is legal. The House version of the bill passed through the Financial Services Committee by a large margin in March and is expected to be approved when brought to a floor vote, which advocates believe will happen sometime this summer.
Passage of the SAFE Banking Act would be huge practically and symbolically. A lack of banking services is a huge obstacle for cannabis businesses on a whole host of issues, from security to payroll to insurance coverage. In addition to the day-to-day benefits for companies and entrepreneurs, the United States Congress passing a standalone cannabis reform bill would be a huge political development adding to the momentum to end federal cannabis prohibition. Contact your representative and senator and urge them to support the SAFE Banking Act.
To learn the latest on all things cannabis business and network with investors, attend the upcoming International Cannabis Business Conference in Vancouver, Canada, this September 15-16. Discounted early-bird tickets are available until August 21st.