New Poll Finds Voters Support SAFE Banking Act
Sports analogies have become passe, but there is only one way to describe the progress of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, right now. The bases are loaded, the SAFE Act is on third, and we need a miracle home run. Something has to give.
What’s So SAFE About It?
The SAFE Banking Act is part of a series of federal reforms to laws relating to the possession, use and trade of cannabis. It enables legal cannabis businesses to access the banking system. Proponents of the Act believe it will bring about a more safe and equitable business environment for cannabis traders.
Who Wants It?
Everyone. Everyone wants the SAFE Act. Well, almost everyone. Democrat support amounted to 73%. Republican support was at 55%, and 67% of Independents supported it in the House of Representatives. In fact, the Act was passed in various forms seven times.
Even two thirds of American voters agree that it’s a good idea, according to a survey conducted by Morning Consult for the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA).
So What’s The Holdup?
The problem lies in the Senate, which keeps bouncing the Act back without passing it. It appears that the SAFE Act is being held up by a disagreement between Democrats and Republicans as to when it should be passed. There is a strong push from some Democrats to hold off on passing the Act until comprehensive reforms have been adopted. On the other hand are the Republicans, who are arguing for incremental reforms which will take longer.
It seems to be just a matter of time until the SAFE Act is passed by the Senate, but how long it will take is anybody’s guess. House representatives are now putting more pressure on the Senate to pass something – anything – to get the ball rolling on talks between the House and the Senate on marijuana policy reform.
It seems odd that the SAFE Act would be held up by Democrats, who introduced the legislation to begin with, as part of a multi-prong legislative reform. There are other pieces of legislation floating around, also waiting to be passed by the Senate, and everything seems to hinge on the Democrats insistence that comprehensive policy changes be implemented first. This is apparently because the SAFE Act, in the current legal environment (without implementing full descheduling and legalization of marijuana), may not necessarily bring about social equity. It would more likely work to benefit bigger commercial enterprises.
What Needs To Happen?
The political undercurrents and cross-currents relating to the legalization of marijuana in the States have to smooth out and flow in the same direction. Right now, the Democrats are holding up the pieces of legislation that will make it legal for banks to deal with legal marijuana businesses, whilst Republicans say “go”.
One theory is that the Republican support for the SAFE Act is primarily due to the lobbying effort by the banks. The banking industry historically has a better relationship with the Republicans, and may use this to leverage support for what is possibly the most lucrative source of income (for them) since Big Pharma invented cancer drugs.
Whatever action is happening behind the scenes, it is evident that something has to give. The Bipartisan faction pushing for House/Senate talks may well be the hero that hits it out of the park. It is also possible that the next pitch will be a foul, in which case, it’s up to the players to make the best play that they can.
In the meantime, cannabis businesses wait for some measure of legitimacy to be conferred upon them, and those with marijuana-related sentences continue to labor under the stigma which affects every part of their lives. The little people, as usual, feel it the most.
Enjoyed that first hit? Come chill with us every week at the Friday Sesh for a freshly packed bowl of the week’s best cannabis news!