SOURCE: High Times
Date posted: 5.13.20
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Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a coronavirus stimulus and relief bill on Tuesday that includes provisions allowing legal cannabis businesses access to banking services, although the measure does not grant marijuana-related companies eligibility for federal small business loans. The bill, known as the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, was introduced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The measure also incorporates the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, a bill from Colorado Democratic Rep. Earl Perlmutter that would grant state-legal cannabis businesses access to traditional banking services. Due to federal money laundering statutes, cannabis companies are denied access to common services including credit card processing, loans, and deposit and payroll accounts. The laws force pot companies to deal largely in cash, increasing the risk of robbery and other crimes.
The SAFE Act would explicitly state that financial institutions are permitted to provide services to cannabis businesses that operate in compliance with state law. The measure was passed as a stand-alone bill by the House in September and has been awaiting action from the Senate since that time.
Keegan Peterson, the CEO of cannabis industry human relations and payroll firm Würk, applauded the House’s decision to include measures that would grant the cannabis industry access to vital banking services in the HEROES Act.
“Wurk has seen firsthand how legal cannabis companies were being held back by archaic banking regulations, and the current health crisis truly highlights how the industry would benefit from access to institutional capital and financial services,” he wrote in an email to High Times. “Our industry is an essential service that employs over 250,000 Americans, and we can only make positive contributions to the economy and our local communities if we are allowed to operate like any other mainstream business.”