Attorneys General Urge Giving Marijuana-Related Business Access To Banking System
A bipartisan coalition of 34 state and territorial Attorneys General is urging Congress to pass as part of upcoming COVID-19 relief legislation the federal Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (H.R. 1595) or similar measures that would give legal marijuana-related businesses access to the federal banking system.
Under existing law, federal regulators prohibit financial institutions from providing services to marijuana businesses in states where medical or retail marijuana sales are legal. Forcing legal businesses to operate as cash-only operations poses serious safety threats, creating targets for violent and white-collar crime. The SAFE Banking Act permits marijuana-related businesses in states and territories with existing regulatory structures to access the federal banking system.
Our office joined a bipartisan coalition of 34 attorneys general urging Congress to pass legislation giving legal marijuana businesses access to the federal banking system, reducing health & safety risks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
— Washington State Attorney General (@AGOWA) May 19, 2020
The SAFE Banking Act has widespread, bipartisan support with 206 cosponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives. The House passed the bill in September 2019. The HEROES Act relief legislation, which the House approved last week, also included the language of the SAFE Banking Act.
In their letter, the Attorneys General note that the COVID-19 pandemic has shed new light on problems that the SAFE Banking Act is intended to remediate, including health and safety concerns stemming from frequent and large cash exchanges.
The full text of the letter can be read here.
The coalition of states and territories includes Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.