Though there has been a number of positive developments in the cannabis industry in recent years, there is always room for more progress. One aspect of the cannabis industry that makes it much more difficult for cannabis-related businesses to succeed financially is the inability to bank safely and properly. In the United States, the laws of the federal government and many of the states in the union do not allow for businesses in the cannabis industry to conduct financial dealings with banks legally. One thing that may make cannabis banking possible for businesses is the SAFE Act. The SAFE Act would make it possible for financial institutions to deal with cannabis businesses legally.
Current Cannabis Banking Laws
Even in states where cannabis sales and consumption is legal, businesses are forced to conduct their businesses on a cash-only basis. The reason this occurs is that most banks live in fear that if they deal with cannabis businesses the federal government, which still classifies cannabis as a Schedule-1 drug, will retaliate with charges of fraud and money laundering.
The fear of the financial government makes banks treat legal and successful cannabis businesses like illicit drug dealers. While banking laws vary state by state, the overarching might of the federal government and the IRS makes it incredibly rare that banks deal with businesses in the cannabis industry.
Will Cannabis Banking Laws Ever Change?
The SAFE (Secure and Fair Enforcement) Act would be a major change in federal policy towards cannabis banking. In a statement to Forbes, CEO of the Cannabis Trade Federation, Neil Levine said, “The SAFE Banking Act will ensure state-legal cannabis businesses and their employees have access to the same basic banking and financial services that are available to other legal industries.”
While the SAFE Act has a very small chance of being passed, it still may be voted on in the coming days, according to Forbes contributor Mike Adams. Just bringing up the bill for a vote on the floor of the Houses of Congress would be a step in the right direction. It is important for progressive legislation like the SAFE Act to at the very least be debated by legislators at the highest levels of government.
Though this iteration of the SAFE Banking Act will in all likelihood not pass, it is possible that a future version of the bill may be enacted into law. If and when a federal cannabis banking law is enacted, the cannabis industry will begin to grow even quicker and those in the industry will finally be allowed to safely bank their money like all other businesses in legal industries.
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Lane is based in Southern California and is a content curator for Medical Marijuana 411. He focuses his research into finding informative stories that can help medical marijuana patients better understand their diverse medicine.