Last week, the cannabis industry got a bit brighter with the passing of the SAFE Banking Act. This bill allows dispensaries and other licensed businesses access to banking. Since the inception of legal cannabis in our country, businesses have face tons of obstacles. One of the largest hurdles facing entrepreneurs, however, has been finding a place to hold their cash.
With overwhelming support (321-103), the SAFE Banking Act passed in the US House of Representatives. It will now move onto the Senate. It received unanimous support from Democrats, with nearly half of republicans voting yes. The Republican support is a huge win on its own!
What do people have to say about the SAFE Banking Act?
There is still uncertainty regarding how the bill will be received by the Senate. But, its performance in the House bodes well. Morgan Fox, a spokesman for the National Cannabis Industry Association, said, “This is a sign the time has come for comprehensive cannabis reform. The fact that we got almost half the Republicans is a huge sign we’re moving in the right direction toward sensible policies.”
Representative Ed Perlmutter tweeted out his elation with the passing of the bill, saying “This is a huge milestone in reforming federal cannabis laws and reducing the public safety risk in communities across the country.”
Those who oppose it are reaching for straws, claiming the bill will only facilitate the spread of marijuana.
Implications of the SAFE Banking Act
Despite the increasing acceptance of cannabis in America, businesses still face restrictions with accessing loans, lines of credit, and other banking services, including things as simple as opening an account. This isn’t necessarily at the fault of financial institutions. Prior to this bill, banks run the risk of severe penalties from the federal government for partaking in the cannabis industry in any regard.
The SAFE Banking Act protects banks from prosecution for their involvement in the cannabis industry – handling money. Throughout the Obama administration, more and more financial institutions were banking within the cannabis industry. However, many of the clauses protecting them were rescinded by Jeff Sessions recently.
Safety for dispensaries and communities
Besides the common sense benefit of allowing the cannabis industry to bank just like any other, there is also a huge social benefit to the SAFE Banking Act. Because dispensaries were forced to hold large sums of cash with nowhere to safely bank it, they were huge robbery targets. Everyone knows how much cash is generated in a business day at a high volume dispensary, especially criminals. According to Washington Representative Denny Heck, this bill is equally a business bill as it is a public safety measure.
To prove this point, let’s take a moment to remember Travis Mason, a 24-year-old Marine veteran. Mason was shot and killed during a robbery of a Denver dispensary. However, with the passing of the SAFE Banking Act, hopefully, this horrific incident doesn’t happen again.
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