From the NIHC Staff
We wanted to alert you that Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Steve Daines (R-MT) joined together to introduce the SAFE Banking Act in the United States Senate.
The legislation specifically gives legal cannabis businesses fair and equitable access to the banking system. For the hemp industry, that means leveling the playing field so that our farmers businesses are regulated just like any other commodity.
Senator Merkley emphasized:
“No one working in a store or behind a register should have to worry about experiencing a traumatic robbery at any moment,” said Merkley in a press release issued by his office. “That means we can’t keep forcing legal cannabis businesses to operate entirely in cash—a nonsensical rule that is an open invitation to robbery and money laundering. Let’s make 2021 the year that we get this bill signed into law so we can ensure that all legal cannabis businesses have access to the financial services they need to help keep their employees safe.”
Senator Daines also weighed in with a statement upon introduction:
“Montana businesses shouldn’t have to operate in all cash—they should have a safe way to conduct business,” Daines said. “My bipartisan bill will provide needed certainty for legal Montana cannabis businesses and give them the ability to freely use banks, credit unions and other financial institutions without the fear of punishment. This in turn will help increase public safety, reduce crime, support Montana small businesses, create jobs and boost local economies. A win-win for all.”
According to the press release sent by the two Senators, the Safe Banking Act would prevent federal banking regulators from:
- Prohibiting, penalizing or discouraging a bank from providing financial services to a legitimate state-sanctioned and regulated cannabis business, or an associated business (such as an lawyer or landlord providing services to a legal cannabis business);
- Terminating or limiting a bank’s federal deposit insurance solely because the bank is providing services to a state-sanctioned cannabis business or associated business;
- Recommending or incentivizing a bank to halt or downgrade providing any kind of banking services to these businesses; or
- Taking any action on a loan to an owner or operator of a cannabis-related business.
Last Thursday, Congressman Ed Perlmutter introduced the same legislation in the House.
“The SAFE Banking Act is a good thing for the hemp industry, and we support and appreciate efforts in Congress to make this bill become law,” said Patrick Atagi, NIHC Board Chairman.
The legislation would need to pass both houses of Congress and be signed into law by President Biden to be enacted.
The NIHC will continue to keep you informed as the SAFE Banking Act moves through the legislative process.