The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act was reintroduced by Sen. Jeff Merley, D-Ore., and Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), with 30 co-sponsors.
The bill has broad bipartisan support as demonstrated by the differing party affiliations of its main Senate sponsors as well as the endorsement of the American Banking. Association. A companion bill was passed by the U.S. House in September 2019 with a 321 to 103 vote, signaling widespread support overall.
Senate passage, which pundits say is likely this year, would conclude the long journey of the legislation, which has been around since 2015. Financial institutions could serve both marijuana and hemp businesses in legal states, free of the previous threats against them for loaning money to cannabis businesses or obtaining federal deposit insurance.
Those threats have stymied banks and forced cannabis operations to rely on sometimes-dangerous cash transactions.
“No one working in a store or behind a register should have to worry about experiencing a traumatic robbery at any moment,” Senator Merkley was quoted as saying by a press release from NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws). “That means we can’t keep forcing legal cannabis businesses to operate entirely in cash — a nonsensical rule that is an open invitation to robbery and money laundering.”
“The SAFE Banking Act would resolve those concerns by allowing core and ancillary companies to utilize all of the electronic banking, checking, payroll and accounting functionality that businesses in all other industries enjoy,” reported the Duane Morris Cannabis Overview, an industry blog.
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