The feds have a vested interest in allowing marijuana businesses to access banking, if for no other reason than to more effectively collect taxes from them.
By David E. Carpenter
In a bid to see marijuana banking reform passed as part of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), vocal members of labor and financial organizations penned a letter to Senate leadership imploring them to afford legitimate cannabis businesses with banking services, which would also give them access to essential insurance products and protections that are given to other industries.
Marijuana Moment recently reported that the letter included contributions from the American Bankers Association (ABA), Credit Union National Association (CUNA), United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), as well as 11 other organizations, asking members to adopt language protecting banks that work with state-legal cannabis businesses.
The member-backing of these organizations is enormous and far-reaching. CUNA alone has over 120 million members.
The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which is intended to create protections for financial institutions that provide banking services to legitimate cannabis-related businesses and service providers for such businesses, has been approved in the House five times, yet on each occasion has fizzled out in the Senate.
Of course, many large financial institutions are reticent to embrace cannabis businesses due to the plant’s designation federally as a Schedule 1 controlled substance alongside heroin and LSD. That makes it a risky business for some commercial interests.
The recent letter from powerful labor and financial groups impacted by the laws was written to express dissatisfaction by leaders of the organizations who believe that pending marijuana banking reform language may be in jeopardy again through the final processes of the NDAA passing this month or next.
“Our organizations have banded together because the status quo is untenable for workers, communities, ancillary businesses and law-abiding financial institutions … SAFE Banking is germane to NDAA because it bolsters national security by keeping bad actors out of the cannabis industry and the financial system, while also supporting the thousands of veterans who rely on the cannabis industry for medical treatment, employment, or entrepreneurial opportunities,” the letter reads.
In addition to listening to the millions of members of the groups who contributed to the letter, the feds have a vested interest in allowing marijuana businesses to access banking, if for no other reason than to better track their revenues and more effectively collect taxes from them.
This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.
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