This week, a group of bipartisan senators introduced the Secure and Fair Enforcement Regulation (SAFER) Banking Act of 2023, which would allow banks and credit unions to serve cannabis businesses and their workers in states where cannabis is legal. The bill will be heard at the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on Wednesday, September 27, 2023, at 9:30 AM.
This bill is a revised version of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act that was passed by the House of Representatives seven times. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) helped introduce the SAFE Banking Act earlier this year and co-sponsored the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2021.
Over the last decade, 47 states, four U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia have legalized some form of medical or recreational cannabis. Currently, state-legal cannabis businesses, including the ones in Nevada, are denied access to traditional and secure banking systems and financial services due to federal restrictions on cannabis.
Without access to these banking services, cannabis businesses are forced to operate as cash-only businesses, frequently making these businesses a target for criminals.
The bill would ensure state-legal cannabis businesses have access to deposit accounts, insurance and other financial services. The legislation also creates common-sense standards for banks and credit unions to maintain customer relationships with these businesses.
Co-sponsors of the bill include Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NV), and Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Steve Daines (R-MT), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ).
“Legal cannabis businesses in Nevada have created thousands of jobs and brought in millions of dollars in revenue to our state. However, these businesses are frequently targets for crime due to outdated federal laws that prevent access to banking services,” said Senator Rosen. “I’m working across the aisle to help Nevada’s legal cannabis businesses access much-needed banking and financial services, supporting small businesses and keeping our communities safer in the process.
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