House Passes Marijuana Banking Bill
Dispensaries in Colorado and other states with legal marijuana have struggled with the cash only business as federal banks have found loopholes to deal with the federally illegal industry. Setting a landmark precedent, the SAFE Banking Act, implemented by Colorado Representative Ed Perlmutter, has become the first marijuana bill to reach the congressional floor and the first to pass.
“The SAFE Banking Act will help thousands of employees, businesses and communities in Colorado and across this country who have been put at risk because they have been forced to deal in piles of cash,” Perlmutter explains said to Westword. “After Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana for recreational use in 2012, I started to hear from local businesses who were being forced to operate in all cash.”
Perlmutter first introduced this bill in 2013, but it didn’t make it to the House until March of this year. Perlmutter foresees issues with the Senate as the bill continues as Republicans are usually staunchly against anything marijuana related. Perlmutter is hoping that by changing the language to allow protection of both cannabis and hemp, Republicans will be more willing to consider the bill.
“The SAFE Banking Act would greatly improve public safety and transparency, and represents a chance to even the playing field by allowing small businesses and people from marginalized communities participating in this emerging industry to access traditional lending,” says Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, says in a statement.