Bankers across the U.S. are urging Senate leaders to put forth a bill in the lame duck that would allow banks to do business with legal cannabis businesses, reducing their reliance on cash.
In a letter this week to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) and 44 state banking associations urged them to hear the Secure and Fair Enforcement Act, or the SAFE Banking Act, as a stand-alone bill or an amendment to another bill by the end of the year.
The letter goes on to say that passing the law would “create a safe harbor from federal sanctions for financial institutions that serve cannabis-related businesses (CRBs), as well as the numerous ancillary businesses that serve them, in states and other jurisdictions where cannabis is legal.”
The ICBA called SAFE Banking “essential for the ongoing ability of community banks to effectively serve their communities,” and said the bill would also alleviate “the threat to public safety posed by cash intensive CRBs effectively being shut out of the banking industry.”
An October poll by Pew research found an overwhelming majority of Americans (88%) said cannabis (marijuana) should be legal for medical and recreational use by adults.
The SAFE Banking bill has passed seven times in the House. It has 42 bipartisan co-sponsors, but it has never received a full floor vote in the Senate.