On September 25, 2019, the House of Representatives passed The Cannabis SAFE Banking Act (also known as the stand-alone marijuana reform act), which protects banks that work with the cannabis industry.
Specifically, it would prohibit regulators from terminating or limiting a bank’s insurance for the sole reason that it does business with a company in the cannabis industry. It would also keep regulators from barring banks from offering financial services to cannabis companies.
Needless to say, we’re excited to see this bill pass through the House. 👏
Let’s hope it keeps its momentum as it moves through the Senate. It will allow safer banking policies and financial services for everyone working in the cannabis industry.
“Thousands of employees, businesses and communities across this country have been forced to deal in piles of cash because of the conflict between state and federal law. After six years of working on this bill, the SAFE Banking Act will go a long way in getting cash off our streets and providing certainty so financial institutions can work with cannabis businesses and employees. I appreciate the partnership of Reps. Heck, Stivers and Davidson and the input and support from several others including Chairwoman Waters for their help passing this bill in the House. I look forward to working with Senate Banking Committee Chairman Crapo, Ranking Member Brown, and the entire Senate as they take up this important issue,” said Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), lead sponsor of the SAFE Banking Act.
Passing the #SAFEBankingAct will show that Congress can work together in a bipartisan way to address outdated marijuana laws. I hope this bill is an icebreaker for the House to take up other reforms and finally remove the conflict between state and federal laws. #copolitics pic.twitter.com/0rBWvQUJGh
— Rep. Ed Perlmutter (@RepPerlmutter) September 25, 2019
Of course, it’s important to recognize that cannabis is still federally illegal in the United States. Regardless of the fact that this bill would allow for safer industry financial practices, we can’t yet predict how exactly it will impact the industry as a whole. Some businesses are bound to err on the side of caution, and change could be slow as long as cannabis remains a Schedule 1 drug.
Here’s what SAFE could mean for those in the industry:
What this could mean for the consumer
Consumers may soon be able to purchase medicinal or recreational cannabis—just like any OTC, vitamin or alcohol— by using their credit or debit card without worry. Major credit card networks, like Visa and Mastercard, have distanced themselves from the cannabis market. They don’t currently allow their credit cards to be used for cannabis purchases of any kind. That could change quickly if SAFE passes.
What this could mean for the employee
Employees working in the cannabis industry have been at risk while working in the currency of a cash business, putting their lives in danger, as dispensaries have become a target for robberies. If SAFE passes, consumers can turn to credit cards and debit cards, lessening the chance of danger to anyone working in a customer-facing environment.
What this could mean for dispensaries
Cannabis shops can finally operate on the same playing field as a non-cannabis business—that’s crucial for things like quality control, access to financing and overall day-to-day operations.
What this could mean for banks
SAFE would open up a new income stream for banks. No longer would legal concerns hold down the banking industry, and we might see an entirely new host of banking products geared towards cannabis-business folk—checking, loans and retirement products.
What this could mean for cannabis advertisers
Advertisers could operate and accept payments from cannabis businesses without worry the bank will flag or close their account for doing business that is not federally recognized.
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