Tomorrow, a Republican-controlled Senate Banking Committee listening to will look at cannabis companies’ lack of entry to banking providers to additional think about the SAFE Banking Act. The July 23, 2019 listening to will embrace Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and the laws’s chief GOP cosponsor, Cory Gardner (R-CO). As we’ve mentioned on the weblog beforehand, the laws would permit monetary establishments to serve state-legal marijuana companies with out concern of federal repercussions. Supporters of the Act have confused the public-safety issues which have resulted from the profitable cannabis trade conducting enterprise on a cash-only foundation.
Scheduling of the listening to took trade officers unexpectedly based mostly on prior feedback. In April and Could 2019, Chairman of the Committee, Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), indicated he would possibly refuse to present the subject a listening to: “so long as cannabis is illegitimate underneath federal legislation, it appears to me to be tough for us to resolve ‘the monetary providers piece.’” The scheduling comes after pressures have elevated, with state banking associations, the Nationwide Affiliation of State Treasurers, the highest monetary regulators of twenty-five states, a majority of state attorneys basic, and bipartisan governors of twenty states all having now endorsed the laws and calling on Congress to behave.
The listening to, titled “Challenges for Hashish and Banking: Outdoors Views,” will embrace witnesses akin to representatives of the Credit score Union Nationwide Affiliation (CUNA), executives from the banking trade like Citywide Banks, and prohibitionist group Sensible Approaches to Marijuana. CUNA President and CEO, Jim Nussle, already commented:
At its coronary heart, cannabis banking is a public security difficulty. It’s an $8.three billion trade that’s at the moment being compelled to function virtually totally in money. … Whereas 33 states, territories and DC have legalized cannabis, it’s been overwhelmingly tough to supply these companies monetary providers as a result of dealing with transactions are at the moment thought-about cash laundering. Credit score unions have been main the best way in serving to to get this cash off the streets. We’re devoted to discovering an answer to this ongoing problem that impacts each group across the nation and look ahead to working with Senate leaders throughout this listening to and with Congress at massive.”
Witnesses may also embrace CEO of marijuana retail chain LivWell Enlightened Well being, John Lord, and CEO of the Hashish Commerce Federal, Neal Levine. Levine stated in an announcement that he hoped the group’s testimony will contribute to the “rising momentum behind significant and historic cannabis coverage reform”:
This listening to is yet one more signal that Congress is taking the cannabis banking drawback significantly and intends to take motion to right it,” he stated. “Hashish companies working legally underneath state and native legal guidelines ought to have the identical entry to banking and monetary providers as another kind of enterprise.”
As a reminder, the companion laws cleared the Home Monetary Providers Committee with a bipartisan vote in March and now has 206 cosponsors (virtually half the physique!). The Senate laws is presently backed by 32 out of 100 senators. The Home model of the SAFE Banking Act was anticipated to be voted on by the total chamber by now, but it surely’s been delayed – a spokesperson for Consultant Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) indicated: “Home Democrats have a sturdy agenda which has made it powerful to get time on the legislative calendar. … However as we proceed to speak with folks, we maintain gaining increasingly assist and look ahead to a robust vote on the ground of the Home quickly.” Tomorrow’s listening to is one other step in the correct path.