Bank officials and cannabis industry representatives joined together on Wednesday to urge Congress to allow marijuana businesses access to banking services. At a hearing of the House Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions Subcommittee, lawmakers heard from advocates of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2019 who are seeking support for the bill.
Due to federal drug and money laundering regulations, even cannabis businesses operating legally under state laws are often unable to obtain financial services regularly used by other industries. As a result, companies in the cannabis industry often do business only in cash, putting the firms and their employees at great risk. The SAFE Banking Act would protect financial institutions and likely make more banks willing to serve the cannabis industry.
Gregory S. Deckard, speaking for the Independent Community Bankers of America, said that the legislation “would offer the needed clarity” to financial institutions hesitant to provide services to marijuana businesses.
Mason Tvert, the communications director for the advocacy group the Marijuana Policy Project, noted that the SAFE Banking Act is not about legalizing cannabis at the federal level.
“Lawmakers are not being asked to weigh in on whether marijuana should be legal or not. They are simply looking