In today’s cannabis episode of “Will Congress listen to the people or will it forge ahead in its outdated, unsupported, and strange policies,” we’re looking at the protection of legal cannabis companies through sufficient access to safe banking. Marijuana Moment has some good news! They reported that the United States Conference of Mayors endorsed a resolution demanding that Congress pass a bill protecting banks that cooperate with state-legal marijuana firms during its 90th annual meeting.
About The Proposal
The main focus of the proposal was cannabis banking, specifically cannabis banking reform. The Conference also endorsed the bipartisan Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which would provide cannabis businesses with standard banking and financial services as well as allow cannabis retailers to take credit card payments. The SAFE Act has been passed six times in the United States House of Representatives but – surprise, surprise – has never made it to the Senate.
The resolution represents 1,400 cities in the United States with populations of 30,000 or more.
The discrepancy between state law and federal law’s prohibition of cannabis presents significant hurdles and obstacles for legally-owned and run cannabis dispensaries and cannabis-related businesses – both medical and recreational, according to a provision of the bill.
The Problem With Cannabis Banking
Credit Union National Association (CUNA) representatives stated in the resolution that one out of every two cannabis retailers has been robbed or burglarized. This is especially true for smaller and minority-owned businesses and leaves workers vulnerable to violence, with the total value of stolen goods averaging between $20,000 and $50,000 in a single theft.
“The frequency of these burglaries and robberies has grown and become more explosive in character,” according to the resolution, “resulting in serious injuries and even death to employees and posing a public safety danger to communities across the country.”
According to industry officials, the absence of safe banking services for the many cannabis dispensaries nationwide is costing lives. It’s not that the banks don’t want to deal with the billions of dollars pot brings in each year – up to $25 billion – or that they don’t like the roughly half-million individuals who work in the business. It’s simply that many banking institutions are wary of getting into business with cannabis businesses because cannabis is still classed as a federally illegal substance in the U.S.
As a result, cannabis retailers are obliged to operate on a cash-only basis. Most people are forced to keep their day’s profits on-site and hope that it remains safe – and hope that they and their employees are not caught in the crossfire should something happen.
It comes as no surprise, then, that every major city in the country is behind the introduction of safe cannabis banking laws and access. It’s high time that Congress gets on board.
The manufacturing measure in a conference called the America COMPETES Act is the driving platform that most stakeholders and advocates are paying particular attention to as a possible route to passing the SAFE Banking Act.
Multiple appointed conferees urged the conference committee to attach the SAFE Banking Act language for the sake of economic competitiveness and public safety during its first meeting on the measure last month.
In addition, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS), which represents state financial regulators throughout the US, is putting pressure on Congress to adopt marijuana banking legislation.
With people’s livelihoods – and lives – at stake with the lack of safe banking options available to cannabis businesses, and with most all major cities in the U.S. standing behind the need for secure cannabis banking, it makes one wonder what Congress is waiting for.
Are they truly that disconnected from the desires and needs of their country, or do they simply not care to listen to what the people they serve have to say?
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