Last week, a group of banking associations from all 50 United States wrote a letter to the U.S. Senate urging the legislative body to include cannabis banking language in the final text of a manufacturing bill for which a bicameral conference is being organized.
The American Bankers’ Association (ABA) as well as associations from every state in the United States says that the SAFE Banking Act is needed urgently and has wide support from both sides of the legislative aisle. The group added that this law is needed to handle the financial transactions that so many entities, such as real estate companies, law firms, members of the skilled trades and so many others rely on in their day-to-day transactions with marijuana companies.
The groups representing banks said that cannabis firms are forced to operate mostly on a cash basis and this was creating concerns about public safety as well as making the work of regulators, tax collection agencies and security agencies harder due to the lack of a verifiable trail of the finances flowing through the marijuana industry. The letter mentions that currently, 37 states allow marijuana in some form and many other states are in the process of reforming their policies and legalizing marijuana. It is therefore vital that banking reform is included in the COMPETES Act so that the existing challenges of public safety and regulation are addressed.
Advocates are hopeful that the legislators selected as conferees will push for the cannabis banking language to be included in the manufacturing bill. These hopes are buoyed by the inclusion of conferees who support the marijuana banking bill. They include Rep. Earl Blumenauer from Oregon, Senator Patty Murray from Washington State and Maxine Waters from California.
The spike in burglaries and robberies in different states, including Washington, has made the voices for cannabis banking reform even louder. Officials in Washington State organized an online roundtable to discuss the security threats facing cannabis businesses, and they even explored different measures that they can take to promote cannabis banking as they wait for Congress to act on this urgent matter.
It is noteworthy that reports coming from FinCEN, a federal agency fighting financial crimes, indicate that the end of 2021 saw an increase in the number of financial institutions working with marijuana businesses. It isn’t clear whether that uptick was due to the anticipation that Congress would pass a law enabling cannabis banking federally or the fact that banks are now less fearful about possible penalties from federal regulators.
One thing is clear — there will be a collective sigh of relief from the entire cannabis sector, including entities such as American Cannabis Partners, once a bill is signed into law allowing federally chartered banks to work with marijuana companies in states with legal cannabis markets.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to American Cannabis Partners are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/ACP
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