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Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, yesterday Representative Dave Joyce and I introduced the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act, or the SAFE Banking Act. This legislation would prevent federal interference in the relationship between a depository institution and a cannabis or cannabis-associated business. This legislation will also protect these businesses' employees are eligible for federal loans and other banking services like employees of any other legal business.
U.S. cannabis laws are broken, including those that prevent state- legal cannabis businesses from accessing banking services and force regulated businesses to operate fully in cash. To date, 38 states have enacted medical marijuana programs, including 21 states that have also decriminalized broader adult use. However, the conflict between state regulation and federal prohibition prevents many financial institutions, including community development financial institutions, minority depository institutions, and credit unions, from serving cannabis and cannabis-related businesses and their employees. Denying state-legal medical and adult-use cannabis businesses, particularly small and locally owned businesses, access to banking services is untenable. Without access to bank accounts, credit cards, and checks, state-legal cannabis and cannabis-related businesses are forced to operate in cash, leaving them vulnerable to a dangerous and deadly pattern of violent robberies.
The SAFE Banking Act will finally allow state regulated cannabis and related businesses to access banking services. This legislation will save lives and livelihoods.
The House has passed the SAFE Banking Act on a bipartisan basis seven times. I am delighted that the Senate is joining us in making it a priority. I look forward to working with our co-leads and our colleagues in the House and Senate to enact this legislation and end the harmful prohibition on banking services for state-legal cannabis businesses.
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