While Legalization Stalls, Some Push For Cannabis Banking Services

CANNANNEW REPORT

Dispensaries and other marijuana industry companies continue to have difficult time getting cannabis banking services. And because federal cannabis legislation appears stalled in the U.S. Senate, at least for the moment, some lawmakers are turning their attention to dealing with weed-related banking issues. U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, a Democrat from Colorado, recently said the time has come to pass the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which provides protections for financial institutions that provide cannabis banking services. He’d prefer going forward with that proposal rather than wait to see if the Senate passes the full legalization bill approved by the House four months ago. It’s something he’s pushed for since 2013. The bill calls for protecting banks against federal charges for working with marijuana businesses. He told Westword he thinks now might be the time to try to get it approved. “The Senate is currently pursuing comprehensive cannabis reform legislation, which is important to ensure true social and economic justice is achieved following the War on Drugs,” he said. “However, there is a serious public-safety threat that exists in our communities that we cannot wait to address, which is why SAFE Banking needs to move now.” More than 30 senators have signed on in support of the bill. Why Marijuana Banking Changes Are Needed Most dispensaries continue to deal each day in cash transactions. While there are ways to safeguard transactions, dispensaries want the same access to financial services that other businesses enjoy. However, federally insured banks won’t provide cannabis banking services out of fear they will run afoul of federal law. While legal for recreational use in 19 states, cannabis remains a Schedule I illegal drug at the federal level. Under that law, banks cannot work with businesses in the marijuana industry without running the risk of facing…

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