To protect the safety of employees, to bring America’s banking laws into the 21st century, and to once and for all move the regulated cannabis industry out of the shadows, Congress should move swiftly to pass the bipartisan Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2021. It would require federal banking regulators to provide uniform guidelines for cannabis-related business accounts.
Their bipartisan letter states: “Allowing cannabis businesses operating legally and in compliance with state law to access financial services without federal reprisal would address public safety and compliance challenges, helping communities reduce cash-motivated crimes.”
Because federal and state law diverge on cannabis, dispensaries have limited access to the U.S. banking system and the credit and debit card services used by other businesses. This leaves legal dispensaries exposed as cash-heavy targets for violent criminals.
Those working in cannabis find themselves unable to access capital and other essential financial services, leaving them without key economic support and potentially vulnerable to violent crime. As the legal adult-use cannabis program begins to come online in New York, steps must be taken to ensure that workers in the industry are set up to build a career and succeed.
Two weeks ago, the push for Congressional action on cannabis banking reform heated up as members of the National Cannabis Industry Association descended on Congress for four days of lobby meetings. Meetings were held over Zoom, as many Congressional offices maintain pandemic protocols that prohibit in person meetings.