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Home / Business / The Senate Hearing is a step toward providing marijuana banking access

The Senate Hearing is a step toward providing marijuana banking access

An important Senate committee met on Tuesday to discuss legislative changes that would allow banks to serve state-approved marijuana companies without the risk of being penalized by federal financial regulators. The chair of the panel concluded that "a case is quite strong here" that the problem needs to be resolved, but that it is a "very important and complex problem that we need to fix. "

The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, chaired by Sen. Mike Crapo (R- (ID), announced the hearing last week, which surprised some advocates in the face of the senator's previous statement that he was not while the federal government still considered marijuana to be a controlled substance

The bill ̵

1; the SAFE (Secure and Fair Enforcement) Banking Act – was a major topic of the conversation. "The House version of the legislation has The chamber's Financial Services Committee was released in March, and while advocates hoped it would land before the full chamber before the break in August, expectations have shifted towards the overthrow of floor action.

As a reporter for Marijuana Moment When Crapo was asked after the hearing, whether he was with the majority leader The Senate vice-chancellor Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that he had "discussed this with almost all colleagues".

Asked by Other Reporters Regarding the next steps, he said that the committee "is currently trying to find a way to tackle the various issues" before a possible tightening of cannabis bank legislation will come into force and that it will not " intends to hold additional hearings on this issue. "[Sherbro Brown] (D-OH), Senior Member of the Panel, said in his inaugural address at the hearing that" the legal cannabis industry is one of the fastest growing in the United States. "

and employs hundreds of thousands of people. "

" No matter how you feel about marijuana itself, we have a duty to look for the workers in this industry and the communities they represent, "he said. 19659002] Witnesses testifying before the Senate Committee included sponsors of the SAFE Banking Act Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), C's representative Redit Union National Association (CUNA), Rachel Pross, Representative of the American Bankers Association (ABA), Joanne Sherwood, Vice President of Smart Approaches To Marijuana (SAM) Affairs Garth Van Meter and John Lord, CEO of LivWell Enlightened Health.

View the Senate Marijuana Banking Senate:

Proponents argue that providing bank access to doses by Nabis companies will increase financial transparency and mitigate safety risks, as such companies are currently largely forced to operate cash to pursue criminal targets.

Gardner said in his statement that "the states are leaders in this topic and the federal government has not responded. It closed its eyes and shut its ears and pretended that the problem was disappearing. It will not.

"If we keep these dollars away from banks, we lose the ability to follow the path of the dollar," he added. "It also becomes more difficult to ensure that all taxes are paid, making it easier for criminals on the illegal Market to present itself as legitimate and there remain hundreds of millions of dollars in cash in the state. "

During the hearing, he realized that this is" a difficult hearing, a difficult subject, I know that. "

But we have been sent here to deal with the difficult issues, "he said." It is an important step forward. The first hearing we had on this issue when the federal government became aware of the fact that the cannabis issue will not disappear and we need to take action.

Following the hearing, Gardner told reporters he was convinced the Senate has enough support to pass not only the SAFE banking law but also another bipartisan law that it co-finances to allow states to do so to establish their own cannabis policy without the risk of federal interference.

"[I] support, and I think the majority of Republicans would have to vote for it.

In particular, the Senator told Marijuana Moment that he still "talks" to McConnell on cannabis issues on Monday.

] "If they want me to shut up, they can just say goodbye to that and the STATES bill, and so I'll shut up," he said, referring to the bills on the rights of banks and states Broadly speaking, the meeting was flawed overall, with only Crapo and Gardner emerging from the majority, raising the question of the extent to which Senate Republicans are interested in advancing cannabis banking law.

Merkley said in his statement that the "lack of availability of financial services for cannabis Affiliated companies in states where it is legalized have created a scenario in which companies are forced to operate with cash, resulting in unsafe environments for all involved leads. He hopes that the hearing will allow members to hear directly from witnesses, the direct experience of the challenges of the financial sector to have. Cannabis industry and prosecution. "

During the hearing, Merkley said It's" no good to force the world to operate with cash. "

" It's an invitation to money laundering. It is an invitation to organized crime. It is an invitation to robbery. It's an invitation to cheat your taxes or cheat your employees, "he said. "Let us fix that. Let us honor the vision of the states of the rights of all states that have said that this makes sense for our citizens here at our location."

"Although the SAFE banking law is not all related to cannabis Helping the 33 states that have legalized cannabis in any way, make their communities safer, collect their taxes and effectively regulate their cannabis markets, "said Sherwood, president and CEO of Citywide Banks, in one "It would also help banks and their clients in states without legal cannabis regimes by tackling the unintended consequences for independent companies offering products and services to the cannabis industry, their employees or service providers, without the ability to undermine any state, prohibit the sale and use of cannabis n within their limits. "

Pross, Chief Risk Officer of Maps Credit Union, said that their association" has no position on the federal legalization of cannabis, "but that" many credit unions in states and communities that have manufactured cannabis use or growth for medical and / or recreational legal. The CUNA strongly believes that financial institutions should be allowed to lawfully serve companies that carry out activities that are permitted under the laws of their state, even if these activities may conflict with federal law. "

" On behalf of US credit unions and their 115 million members, we urge Congress and the Administration to work to transform these laws into laws and give financial institutions the security they need to better serve our communities can. "

Van Meter, from the prohibition group SAM, said the committee members would be asked to address" Whether we want to promote and reinforce drug use during an addiction crisis or stop drug use and help people find recovery and healing " emagazine.credit-suisse.com/app/art…7805 & lang = DE The marijuana industry hopes to gain many benefits from federal legalization without having to go beyond the Impact on public health debate SAFE Banking Act, signed by former leaders of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Office of National Drug Control Pol icily.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) talked about research barriers to marijuana, noting that he introduced the bipartisan legislation introduced last week that tackles the problem together with Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) , carried along.

Van Meter intervened and said, "If the marijuana industry is worried about research, then I do not think they will sell some of these extremely high-impact products."

"said Sweetheart. "I will allow you to answer the questions, but I will not allow you to make a big shot at the people you testify with."

Lord, chairman of the advocacy group The Cannabis Trade Federation said: "Due to the significant compliance costs associated with servicing cannabis clients under existing guidelines, cannabis companies are charged substantial monthly fees."

"Our Company pays more than $ 3,000 a month for the mere privilege of having an account, "he said of LivWell Enlightened Health. "The current situation is particularly challenging for small businesses. While we are capable of bearing the extra cost of cash management and exorbitant bank fees because of our size, many small businesses are not. "

" In addition, solving the banking problem could greatly assist cannabis companies in securing business loans. This is crucial for small business owners who may not have access to other sources of capital. It should be noted that these small businesses also suffer from Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code, which prevents all cannabis companies from deducting standard business expenses when calculating their taxes. If we want to help small businesses, including minority and women-owned businesses, thrive and prosper, we need to correct the banking situation and change section 280E to ban cannabis companies like any other company. "

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) discussed the challenges facing cannabis companies in securing loans and announced separate laws that would allow such companies access to insurance.

Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) argued that the federal marijuana reform should not stop at access to banks.

"I think we need to be aware that we can not forget the criminal sanctions for marijuana companies' involvement in the thousands of people who have been behind bars for their commitment to marijuana," she said. "Color communities, especially African-American men, have paid a disproportionate price for generations of aggressive enforcement of marijuana laws."

Brown, the senior Democrat, expressed a similar opinion, saying that the consultation on financial services was "just one" part of the conversation that Congress must conduct on marijuana policy.

"People should not be jailed for non-violent marijuana offenses or their futures endangered," he said.

Other issues raised During the meeting, among others, the lack of access to financial services to hemp companies since the federal legalization of the harvest under the Agricultural Law of 2018, obstacles to marijuana research and the issue of how to provide banking access to the Industry can help regulators better identify illegal financial activities.

Banking associations of all 50 states have spoken out in favor of the SAFE law. Other proponents of a legislative solution to the banking problem include a coalition of 20 bipartisan governors, the National Association of State Treasurers, leading financial regulators in 25 states and a majority of attorney general.

On the House side, there are 206 laws contributors. The bill has 31 members in the Senate.

The Banking Hearing is the sixth congressional hearing on marijuana policy in this Congress, including a historic meeting of the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security on ways to end the federal ban on cannabis. Another committee will discuss the production of hemp on Wednesday.

Senate plans second hearing for cannabis next week

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