A new bill that would protect banks that serve state-legal marijuana businesses from penalties by federal regulators has been introduced in the Senate.
The bill comes just days after the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act was refiled in the House, where it had passed with bipartisan support as a standalone bill in 2019 and also as part of two COVID-19 relief bills.
The SAFE Banking Act ensures that financial institutions could take on cannabis business clients without facing federal penalties.
The banking bill introduced in the Senate is sponsored by Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Steve Daines (R-MT). It currently has 27 other cosponsors while in the House it has more than 100 members who’ve signed on as cosponsors.
“No one working in a store or behind a register should have to worry about experiencing a traumatic robbery at any moment,” Merkley stated.
“That means we can’t keep forcing legal cannabis businesses to operate entirely in cash—a nonsensical rule that is an open invitation to robbery and money laundering. Let’s make 2021 the year that we get this bill signed into law so we can ensure that all legal cannabis businesses have access to the financial services they need to help keep their employees safe.”
“Montana businesses shouldn’t have to operate in all cash—they should have a safe way to conduct business,” said Daines.
“My bipartisan bill will provide needed certainty for legal Montana cannabis businesses and give them the ability to freely use banks, credit unions and other financial institutions without the fear of punishment,” he said.
“This in turn will help increase public safety, reduce crime, support Montana small businesses, create jobs and boost local economies. A win-win for all.”