Bank Of America, Mastercard, NRA And Others Are Lobbying For Cannabis Banking Reform

In an analysis of new Congressional lobbying disclosures, a NY-based outlet found that Bank of America BAC-1.24%, Mastercard MA, the NRAGlaxoSmithKline GSK and other entities are lobbying on cannabis banking reform.

“Recently, several other noteworthy names jumped on the SAFER Act lobbying train,” wrote Alyson Martin, co-founder of Cannabis Wire and author of the report.

Cannabis Banking Reform

The SAFER Banking Act was crafted to enable legal cannabis businesses access to banks and financial institutions, which, up to now, have been off limits because cannabis is still a federally illegal substance. On Sept. 27, the SAFER Banking Act passed in the Senate Banking Committee and is expected to move to the full Senate and then to the House. 

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In a weekend story, Cannabis Wire noted that cannabis banking reform has attracted more congressional lobbying attention than any other cannabis legislation. Lobbyists now include the following corporations and organizations, some of which previously lobbied on cannabis banking or other related issues and have either reemerged or tweaked the language around their priorities.


The credit card company first lobbied in 2019 and 2020 on cannabis banking but stopped until this quarter when it included the SAFER Banking Act in its recent disclosure. In July, Mastercard made headlines when it prohibited all marijuana transactions on its debit cards, exacerbating already dangerous situations for cannabis dispensaries, which are obliged to do all of their business on a cash-only basis.

National Rifle Association

The NRA specifically included two lobbying disclosures, without indicating a position. 

Bank Of America

BoA also included “S 2860, SAFER Banking Act, issues related to provision of financial services” in its disclosure. 

A Bank of America spokesperson told Cannabis Wire that the financial institution has no comment on its lobbying disclosure and no position on the bill. 

Chicago Board Options Exchange

The Chicago Board Options Exchange, the creator of the world’s first and largest options exchanges, included the SAFE Banking Act in its disclosures this year. 

International Association Of Machinists And Aerospace Workers

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), which recently joined forces with the Maine Cannabis Union, also included support for the SAFE Banking Act in its disclosure for the first time in the third quarter of this year. The IAM represents more than 600,000 workers in more than 200 industries. 


GlaxoSmithKline, which lobbied in 2021 on specific hemp and CBD legislation, recently disclosed that it lobbied the FDA in the third quarter of this year about CBD regulations and its marketing as a supplement or food additive.

What’s Next?

Things could change for banking reform if the DEA takes a recent suggestion made by the Department of Health and Human Services calling for marijuana to be reclassified as a Schedule III drug under the Controlled Substances Act. This would represent a critical shift from its Schedule I status, one of the main reasons why cannabis companies remain deprived of banking access. 

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