Sen. Bennet praises advancement of SAFE Banking Act

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) recently applauded the House of Representatives’ advancement of the SAFE Banking Act of 2019, noting it addresses issues in medicinal or recreational cannabis states.

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Bennet said the legislation, authored by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), targets logistical and public safety problems. Currently, cannabis businesses operating under state laws have been mostly denied access to the banking system because banks providing services can be prosecuted under federal law.

Without the ability to access bank accounts, accept credit cards or write checks, businesses must operate using large amounts of cash, creating safety risks for businesses and surrounding communities, according to proponents of the bill.

“The lack of access to banking services for marijuana businesses is a public safety issue in Colorado and across the country,” Bennet said. “This common-sense bill would allow our banking system to serve marijuana businesses the same way they serve any other legal places of business. I’m grateful to Congressman Perlmutter for his leadership in pushing this bill across the finish line. We will continue our efforts to move this bill in the Senate.”

Under the bill, federal banking regulators would be prohibited from penalizing or discouraging a bank from providing financial services to a legitimate state-sanctioned and regulated cannabis business, or an associated business. It would also prevent regulators from terminating or limiting a bank’s federal deposit insurance solely because the bank is providing services to a state-sanctioned cannabis business or associated business, or recommending or incenting a bank to halt or downgrade providing any kind of banking services to these businesses. The legislation would also stop federal banking regulators from taking any action on a loan to an owner or operator of a cannabis-related business.