On Feb. 13, a hearing in the House Financial Services Committee could make the first critical step in changing federal banking laws and allowing cannabis businesses to gain access to banking services.
The House committee hearing next week will discuss the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act that was introduced last congressional session by committee member Rep. Ed Perlmutter. Nineteen state attorneys general urged Congress to pass the act, and banking organizations support the legislation that would help cannabis businesses.
Perlmutter will approve the upcoming cannabis banking legislation that will be introduced in coming weeks to the committee and fine-tuned prior to being brought before the larger House for a vote.
Currently, banks are hesitant to work with cannabis businesses due to the legal status on cannabis. Unfortunately, that means cannabis businesses operate largely on cash, including handing over payments for their taxes and storing revenue.
“Bad guys like two things; they like the cash, and they like cannabis,” Bruce Nassau, partner with Colorado’s Lit Dispensary told CBS4. He said the business’ biggest issue was safety due having large amounts of cash at hand. Without bank access to deposit revenue, the business is at a high risk for robbery.
“They stuck a gun down the guys throat, came in, made everyone lie down on the floor. They walked away with over $20,000 in cash and five pounds of cannabis product,” Nassau said, referring to a recent robbery at one of his dispensaries.
The hearing, “Challenges and Solutions: Access to Banking Services for Cannabis-Related Businesses” will be streamed on the committee’s website on Wednesday beginning at 2 p.m. eastern time.