On Tuesday, it was announced that language that would allow banks to legally work with state-licensed cannabis businesses was eliminated from a must-pass piece of legislation currently under consideration — the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
In response to this news, Matthew Schweich, deputy director at the Marijuana Policy Project, the nation’s leading cannabis policy reform organization, released the following statement:
“We are disappointed in the elimination of the SAFE Banking provisions from the NDAA. It is unacceptable that so many state-licensed cannabis businesses are operating entirely in cash simply because the Biden administration and Congress, in spite of overwhelming public support, refuse to support even modest reforms to our country’s failed federal cannabis laws.
“While the SAFE Banking provisions would not have addressed criminal justice reform, this was a valuable opportunity for incremental progress, a principle that has served the cannabis reform movement well for many years.
“Furthermore, Congress has missed an opportunity to assist hundreds of small and minority-owned businesses in medical and adult-use cannabis states across the country.
“Without SAFE Banking, employees of cannabis businesses will continue to face public safety risks. Cannabis businesses are experiencing burglaries, armed robberies, and thefts at disturbing rates. It is abundantly clear that leaving cannabis businesses unbanked is dangerous for both workers and the surrounding community.”