A new opinion poll commissioned by the American Bankers Association has found that two out of every three Americans would like Congress to approve a law allowing state-legal cannabis companies to have access to traditional banking services, including access to loans and checking accounts.
This survey was focused on two questions. First, the poll wanted to know whether Americans felt cannabis businesses licensed in states with legal cannabis markets should be in position to get access to basic banking services. The second question sought the opinion of respondents regarding whether or not Congress needs to act on cannabis banking reform.
For both questions, respondents exhibited support. Nearly seven in ten Americans said they supported proposals to grant cannabis companies access to mainstream financial services. Of this number, 37% were “strongly” in favor of granting such access. Only a paltry 16% of the respondents were of the view that there is no need for Congress to enact cannabis banking reform policies.
Rob Nichols, AMA president and CEO, wrote in a press release that U.S. residents strongly believed that the time had come for the current contradictions between federal and state-level policies on marijuana to be fixed once and for all. He called on Congress to expeditiously approve the SAFE Banking Act before this year ends so that public safety can be improved in more than three dozen states where marijuana has been legalized in one way or the other.
The House of Representatives has approved some form of the Safe Banking Act more than half a dozen times, but the law has always hit a wall when it gets to the upper chamber of Congress regardless of whether the Democrats or Republicans have a majority in that chamber. The good news is that banking reform has been included in a package containing cannabis policy reforms that leaders in the Senate are finalizing.
Earl Blumanauer, who tabled the banking law before the House of Representatives, says that the continued denial of banking services to the cannabis industry not only hurts businesses owned by minorities but is also deadly due to the attacks such businesses are exposed to. Because of these security concerns, Rep. Ed Perlmutter has threatened to go the “nuclear way” of blocking other legislation in order to force cannabis banking to be addressed by Congress.
Several groups, including the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) have all come out to push for cannabis banking reform. It remains to be seen whether Congress will heed these calls and give ancillary actors such as Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX) the relief they seek to access banking services like any other legal businesses in the country.
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