Cannabis banking has been a contentious issue since states started legalizing medical and recreational cannabis. Since federal law prohibits the cultivation, production and sale of cannabis, most financial institutions refuse to work with businesses in the cannabis space. This forces marijuana businesses to operate on a cash-only basis, which significantly increases the risk of robberies and prevents these companies from accessing much-needed capital.
After years of advocating for access to financial services, the cannabis sector is a step closer to its goal after Congress appointed negotiators to finalize a manufacturing and innovation bill that would protect banks that choose to service cannabis businesses. Additionally, Rep Maxine Waters, who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, has listed the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Act as a priority for the panel. In a recent press release, the committee noted that operating on a cash basis has led to significant public safety risks and makes it easier to engage in money laundering and tax evasion.
According to Safe Banking Act sponsor Ed Perlmutter, more than two-thirds of the America COMPETES Act Conferees have voted for or cosponsored the SAFE Banking Act. Even though he wasn’t appointed to the conference, Perlmutter says that he appreciates the support his legislation has received from the Financial Services Committee.
He says that it is now time to raise awareness of the public safety problem caused by the lack of access to banking in the cannabis space and to include his cannabis banking legislation in the America COMPETES package. The House of Representatives has passed some form of the SAFE Banking Act six times, but the legislation has repeatedly stalled in the Senate.
Alternatively, history may well repeat itself, and the bill could fail to advance past the Senate. Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer has made it clear that he would rather pass comprehensive cannabis reform before a cannabis banking bill. In December, several lawmakers expressed their frustration with Schumer and the Senate for failing to include cannabis banking protections in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Democrats have a very slim majority in the Senate and likely won’t be able to pass any cannabis bill without winning over GOP legislators. Furthermore, none of the GOP senators appointed to the conference have cosponsored the SAFE Banking Act, and Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell has shown his displeasure at House Democrats including cannabis banking provisions in the America COMPETES Act. The fate of cannabis banking protections along with the concerns of marijuana industry actors such as Cannabis Strategic Ventures Inc. (OTC: NUGS) now remains in the hands of the negotiators who will work out a manufacturing law that can be approved for enactment.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Cannabis Strategic Ventures Inc. (OTC: NUGS) are available in the company’s newsroom at http://cnw.fm/NUGS
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