Cannabis and Bank Financial Protections Killed Off in Congress

A chance for cannabis businesses to work with banks was recently killed off by the United States Congress.

The Secure And Fair Enforcement Banking Act (Safe) Act of 2017, the latest version of attempts to help protect cannabis-based businesses and banks interacting, was thwarted before it could be brought to a vote.

In tactical preciseness, Congress ended the bill’s run by tabling the amendment, citing that it was not relevant to the topic of stress tests for financial institutions. The bill would have protected banks from federal penalties while they served cannabis-related businesses.

Due to the risk, banks currently don’t choose to work with cannabis businesses, leaving them needing to work primarily in cash. Rep. Ed Perlmutter was inspired to the bill after a Iraq War veteran working as a dispensary security guard was killed during a robbery.

“The regulatory confusion around marijuana and banking needs to be resolved,” Perlmutter said. “Prohibition is over. This committee has a responsibility to align the laws of the United States with those of the states so that there isn’t confusion. Public safety is at risk.”

This is the third of a series of cannabis-related bills that Congress has blocked from being voted on. Previously, Congress also shot down a chance for an amendment regarding taxation of cannabis-related businesses from being added to the GOP tax bill, and it has even blocked veterans involved in cannabis research from being voted on.

Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters from California spoke in support of Perlmutter’s amendment.

“Someday we will realize that this is a federal issue that must be dealt with,” she said.

Rep. Perlmutter stated his frustration later via his Twitter account. “This week, I tried yet again to offer a solution to the marijuana banking crisis. Unfortunately, my amendment was not included in the final bill. This is an issue of public safety and I will continue to press the issue at every opportunity.”

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