Thursday, May 21, 2020
Bipartisan coalition of state attorneys general urge Congress to include banking access for marijuana businesses in COVID relief bills
As reported in this press release from earlier this week from the Colorado Attorney General, "a bipartisan coalition of 34 state and territorial Attorneys General [on Tuesday urged] Congress to pass as part of upcoming COVID-19 relief legislation the federal Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (H.R. 1595) or similar measures that would give legal marijuana-related businesses access to the federal banking system." Here is more from the press release:
Under existing law, federal regulators prohibit financial institutions from providing services to marijuana businesses in states where medical or retail marijuana sales are legal. Forcing legal businesses to operate as cash-only operations poses serious safety threats, creating targets for violent and white-collar crime. The SAFE Banking Act permits marijuana-related businesses in states and territories with existing regulatory structures to access the federal banking system.
The SAFE Banking Act has widespread, bipartisan support with 206 cosponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives. The House passed the bill in September 2019. The HEROES Act relief legislation, which the House approved last week, also included the language of the SAFE Banking Act.
In their letter, the Attorneys General note that the COVID-19 pandemic has shed new light on problems that the SAFE Banking Act is intended to remediate, including health and safety concerns stemming from frequent and large cash exchanges.
The full text of the letter can be read here.
Also released with this letter ws this effective report from the Attorney General Alliance Cannabis Project titled "Solving An Untenable Situation: The Public Health and Safety Rationale Behind The Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act."