The attorneys general of 38 states and territories sent a letter to congressional leaders Wednesday, urging them: Please, let us bank the money generated by the country’s booming cannabis business.
“This is simple: Not incorporating an $8.3 billion business into our accounting system is damaging our public safety and market,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, one of the signatories, said in a statement. “The SAFE Banking Act would benefit taxpayers and small and neighborhood licensed businesses who play by the rules. We urge Congress to pass legislation to satisfy the demands of the growing economy.”
The attorneys general say they would like to move the bud business from a financial grey area and into the regulated banking industry. Many bud businesses wind up dealing in money, and a lot of it making earnings monitoring and taxation harder for states and creating targets for crime.
Finance in the bud business means armed guards and armored vehicles. And a cannabis company may pay thousands in monthly fees just to get a bank account.
The letter calls on Congress to advance the SAFE Banking Act or similar legislation, expanding financial services to legitimate cannabis-related companies and service suppliers and reduce the quantity of cash they hold.
“Our banking platform has to be flexible enough to tackle the requirements of businesses in the respective nations and territories, with territorial and state entered , while protecting the interests of the national government,” the attorneys general wrote. “This consists of a banking system for marijuana-related companies that is both responsive and effective in fulfilling the demands of the economy.”
In late March, the House Financial Services Committee advanced the invoice, and it has attracted 175 co-sponsors from both parties up to now.
Among the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., composed that support from state officials “underscores the necessity to respect states’ rights on this problem and make our communities safer by permitting the marijuana business and associated companies access to the banking system.”
The AGs’ letter earned praise from the banking market. “The commonsense bill provides much needed clarity for banks in nations where cannabis is legal,” composed the American Bankers Association.
American Banker magazine notes that the important obstacle to the legislation is not gathering enough votes but getting Senate leadership to prioritize the matter. That may account for the public safety framing of the issue.
Don Childears, president and chief executive officer of the Colorado Bankers Association, told the magazine that the purpose is to get cash off the streets: “We’ve had people killed in robberies of bud shops here in Colorado. I can not say that would not happen if you had banking solutions, but you would not have the temptation of large amounts of cash.”
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