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Poll Shows Public Support for Cannabis Banking Bill

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Poll Shows Public Support for Cannabis Banking Bill

A.J. Herrington

By A.J. Herrington

March 10, 2022

American consumers want lawmakers to pass legislation to ensure cannabis businesses have access to banking services, according to the results of a poll released on Tuesday. The survey from the American Banking Association found that nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of consumers support allowing cannabis businesses access to traditional banking services such as checking accounts and business loans in states with legal cannabis, while only 15 percent opposed the idea.

Under current regulations, banks are subject to penalties under federal money laundering and other laws for servicing such companies, leaving the cannabis industry to operate in a risky environment heavy in cash, even in states that have legalized marijuana. ABA president and CEO Ron Nichols said the poll shows the American public supports finding a solution to the problem.

“Consumers clearly agree that now is the time to resolve the ongoing conflict between state and federal law so banks can serve legal cannabis and cannabis-related businesses,” Nichols

in a statement from the group representing the nation’s banking industry. “Doing so will help banks meet the needs of their communities while enhancing public safety, increasing the efficiency of tax collections and improving the financial transparency of the cannabis industry.”

The

about consumer banking views revealed that 40 percent of consumers strongly support and 25 percent somewhat support allowing banking services such as business loans and checking accounts for cannabis businesses. Seven percent said they were somewhat opposed, and eight percent strongly opposed, while 21 percent said they did not know or had no opinion.

Support for action from lawmakers on the issue was slightly stronger among the poll’s respondents. When asked if Congress should pass legislation that allows cannabis firms access to banking services in states where marijuana is legal, 68 percent said they supported the idea, 15 percent were opposed and 16 percent were unsure.

SAFE Banking Act Passed by House Six Times

already has a proposal to allow banking services for regulated cannabis companies. Under the SAFE Banking Act ), federal banking regulators would be prohibited from penalizing banks that choose to serve cannabis firms doing business in accordance with state law. The legislation was initially introduced in the House in 2013 by Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, who has reintroduced the bill each subsequent congressional cycle.

Since its original introduction, the House of Representatives has passed the provisions of the SAFE Banking Act six times, either as a stand-alone bill or as an amendment to other legislation. But so far, the Senate has failed to approve the legislation and send it to the White for the president’s signature. Although Perlmutter announced in January that he would not seek re-election after serving in the House since 2006, he still has hopes to get the cannabis banking bill passed during his last year in Congress.

“I will continue to be a real pest,” Perlmutter

at ABA’s Washington Summit on Tuesday.

Perlmutter noted that Democratic leaders in the Senate would like to add additional provisions for the expungement of cannabis-related convictions and other issues related to cannabis legalization. But “as we expand this thing, we start losing votes, particularly Republican votes,” he said.

After the House approved provisions of the SAFE Banking Act for the sixth time in February as part of a bill designed to maintain American competitiveness with China, Morgan Fox, the political director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, called on the Senate to finally approve the legislation.

“It is imperative for the interests of public safety, transparency, and the economic viability of small cannabis businesses that this legislation is approved as soon as possible. The fact that the people’s chamber has approved this measure in various forms multiple times is a clear indicator of where voters stand on this issue,”

Fox. “Continued inaction by the Senate on this popular bipartisan reform puts workers and customers at risk of violence, makes it harder for regulators to accurately track cannabis revenue, and perpetuates the high costs and lack of access to capital that are increasingly widening the gap between large and small businesses in the cannabis space when it comes to their chances to succeed.”

A.J. Herrington

About The Author

A.J. Herrington

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