A new survey conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of the American Bankers Association (ABA) confirmed that a vast majority of U.S. adults support cannabis banking and urge Congress to pass legislation allowing cannabis businesses to access banking services in states where marijuana is legal. Fully 66% of those polled support cannabis banking, only 15% oppose and the rest don't really care.
“Americans firmly believe that now is the time to resolve the ongoing conflict between state and federal law to allow banks to serve legal cannabis and cannabis-related businesses,” said Rob Nichols, ABA president and CEO. “We urge Congress to pass the SAFE Banking Act this year to enhance public safety in the 38 states where cannabis is legal in some form.”
What Is The SAFE Banking Act?
The bipartisan Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act seeks to protect financial institutions that wish to provide their services to state-legal marijuana businesses.
Earlier this summer, the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) called on Congress to pass cannabis banking reform.
The group, joined by 44 state community banking associations throughout the country, is pushing to include the bipartisan SAFE Act as part of the America COMPETES Act.
The SAFE Banking Act has passed in the U.S. House six times but has never made it to the upper chamber. Senators from both parties support a plan to include it in a separate bill. Some, like Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), say the SAFE Act has enough votes among at least 10 Republican co-sponsors and close to 50 Democrats to pass as a standalone bill.
Dangerous For Some
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), one of the sponsors of the SAFE Banking Act, has often highlighted the issue of violent crime targeting marijuana businesses and workers who carry out all of their transactions in cash only, turning them into sitting ducks to robbers.
Industry leaders concur that the lack of safe banking access for the country’s thousands of cannabis dispensaries has become dangerous for many.
"No one should have to go to work fearing for their lives," said Steve Hawkins president of the U.S. Cannabis Council. "Those individuals should not be worried if they will be going home to loved ones at the end of the day."
In view of this and the ABA’s recent survey, released on Oct. 20, it seems support for SAFE banking is almost overwhelming.
What say you, Senators? Can SAFE at least get a hearing?
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