Published September 27, 2019, Julie Weed
In the crush of impeachment news, few noticed a major development in the legal cannabis industry this week. The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which allows banks to offer financial services to cannabis companies that are operating legally within their own state, passed in the House of Representatives by a decisive margin of 322 – 103 and is moving on to the Senate.
There is some flavor of legal cannabis market in more than 30 states, but the plant’s federal categorization as a Schedule One drug, has meant that banks would not offer services to companies growing, processing or selling marijuana. Without access to checks and credit cards, business operators have had to deal in large amounts of cash, making them targets for robbery and complicating the tax-paying procedures.
The legal cannabis market has been a “job machine” and now employs 250,000 Americans according to Keegan Peterson, chief executive of Würk which creates payroll and human resources software for cannabis companies. The lack of banking access “puts the incomes of these employees at risk and causes unnecessary financial challenges for business owners.”