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Senator Merkley Stresses the Importance of the SAFE Banking Act

Jeff Merkley
Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley Stresses the Importance of S. 1152, the Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act
Regardless of where you stand on cannabis legalization, you should support regulated businesses’ access to banking services. Even if you don’t support legal marijuana, you should want licensed companies to pay their fair share of taxes and fewer armed robberies in your local community. Prohibiting businesses from utilizing banks forces entrepreneurs, following state law, to open cash-only businesses that must pay their taxes with huge bundles of bills, that can be a target for thieves.
Thankfully, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, who will be welcoming attendees to the upcoming International Cannabis Business Conference via a video message, has introduced the SAFE Banking Act, a bipartisan, sensible solution—with support of 19 Senators—that will help ensure that cannabis taxes are paid in full and public safety is improved.
Access to banking came to the forefront recently when Florida political candidate Nikki Fried revealed that Wells Fargo closed her account because she accepted political donations from marijuana-industry lobbyists. Wells Fargo has doubled down on their policy of closing bank accounts, as Tom Angell reported last week for Forbes:
In an email on Monday afternoon, Michael H. Gray, a Wells Fargo assistant vice president for corporate communications defended the company’s move.
“It is Wells Fargo’s policy not to knowingly bank or provide services to marijuana businesses or for activities related to those businesses, based on federal laws under which the sale and use of marijuana is illegal even if state laws differ,” he said. “We continually review our banking relationships to ensure we adhere to strict regulatory and risk guidelines.”
When asked if that meant the company would be canceling the accounts of members of Congress who bank with Wells Fargo, Gray responded, “The policy applies to everyone.”

Senator Merkley responded by tweeting out the need to pass the SAFE Banking Act:

The last time Sen. Merkley’s banking proposal came up for a vote before the Senate Appropriations Committee, it was blocked by a 21-10 vote.) While the cannabis industry has made great strides in recent years, there is still a long way to go. Thankfully, we are gaining strength among the public and politicians. We need to continue our state-by-state electoral success and elect more common-sense public servants like Senator Merkley and eventually, our nation will implement a rational cannabis policy that works for businesses and the public alike.

Don’t miss the message from Senator Merkley and the opportunity to learn the latest and network with top investors, entrepreneurs, and advocates from around the world at the upcoming International Cannabis Business Conference in Portland, Oregon, this September 27th-28th. Early bird tickets are on sale now. Get your tickets by September 12th to save $200. 

Jeff Merkley, Michael H. Gray, Nikki Fried, Tom Angell, Wells Fargo