We saw a “deja vu” make its way back into the halls of the US Congress when the SAFE Banking Act of 2019 (H.R. 1595) was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. In the edition of AGREEN1, various bumps in the road for the cannabis and hemp industries were discussed, and this is truly the daddy of all the bumps. Legally regulated cannabis businesses, which are required to pay very large taxes to state and federal governments, are denied banking. Why do you gasp? Cannabis is still federally illegal, and federal institutions like banks are not allowed to work with them. Yes, you heard that right, the federal government levies and collects big taxes from cannabis businesses across the country, and at the same time, the federal government defines cannabis as illegal and prevents cannabis (and hemp) businesses from access to banking. “The SAFE Banking Act provides that federal regulators shall not interfere in the actions of a depository institution dealing with state-legal cannabis businesses.” It protects financial institutions that choose to do business with cannabis companies in legal states and provides clarity so that federal regulators cannot interfere with or punish financial institutions for working with legitimate cannabis-related businesses.
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