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Cannabis Businesses Strengthen Push for Banking Without Restrictions

Cannabis industry powerhouses are putting the pedal to the metal to build momentum for full banking access.  The push comes in advance of the upcoming midterm elections.  If everything goes as planned, the cannabis industry will catalyze lawmakers to providing President Biden with a reform bill for signature prior to the November midterm elections.  

The rush to pass the law is fueled by worry that a potentially conservative Congress after the midterm elections will make it difficult to pass new pro-cannabis legislation.  If the proposed legislation is passed into law, it will be a significant victory for cannabis businesses as well as those interested in cannabis investing.

Details Of The Proposed Legislation

Nearly two dozen cannabis industry chief executives participated in an in-person lobbying effort earlier this month in an attempt to persuade lawmakers to consider the merits of the SAFE Banking Act.  This piece of legislation would empower cannabis businesses to work with domestic banking institutions.  The legislation would also allow cannabis businesses to accept payments with credit cards as opposed to cash.

Cannabis industry heads believe there is enough support from Republicans to pass the Act in the Senate.  However, if the bill were delayed for a vote until after the midterm elections, the potential shift to the right side of the aisle might spell bad news.  In short, the clock is ticking for the passage of the SAFE Banking Act.

The campaign for amending cannabis industry banking rules comes on the heels of the left’s debate pertaining to surmounting the challenges of marijuana reforms.  The top Democrats in the Senate are in favor of a more comprehensive piece of legislation that decriminalizes recreational cannabis on the national level.  Democrats are also in favor of expunging prior cannabis-related convictions.  Cannabis businesses indicate they support such reforms yet the stress of broad decriminalization would not have the 60 votes of support necessary to move through the split Senate.

Greasing The Wheels Of The Economy

Though some conservatives are quick to argue taking steps to promote the sale and consumption of cannabis fuels social problems, just about everyone agrees the cannabis industry is a boon for the economy.  Cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, meaning banks and other financial institutions have the potential to be slapped with significant penalties for doing businesses with cannabis companies.  

As a result, banks, credit unions and other financial institutions have shied away from extending loans to cannabis businesses.  This predicament is also problematic as it forces cannabis businesses to sell items for cash, meaning they are that much more likely to be burglarized.

Hope For A Better Future

Fast forward to 2023 and the SAFE Banking Act will likely be passed into law.  The legislation has passed in the House half a dozen times in previous years with support from more than 100 Republicans and all Democrats.  The primary hang-up is the fact that the left’s leaders in the Senate are concerned that the passage of the Act would indicate work on cannabis industry banking is complete and there would not be an opportunity to pass an even wider-ranging bill.  

As an example, Charles Schumer, the Senate Majority Leader, has prioritized his own unique piece of legislation dubbed the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, that takes cannabis off of the federal controlled substances list.  Schumer’s proposed legislation also redirects tax revenue from cannabis sales to communities harmed by the war on drugs and expunges nonviolent cannabis convictions at the federal level.

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