Coalition of Governors Urge Passage of SAFE Banking Act

A bipartisan coalition of governors, as well as executives from D.C., the Virgin Islands, and Guam, wrote to Congress earlier this week urging the passage of legislation that would move cannabis industry transactions away from cash.

The legislation, the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, is currently an amendment of the 2o22 defense spending bill, and was recently passed by the House of Representatives. However, the Senate has never voted on the measure.

In their letter, the governors urged passage of law, arguing that 37 states, four territories, and the District of Columbia have all at least partially legalized marijuana, and that the $17.5 billion industry is largely conducted as a cash business, thanks to “antiquated” federal banking regulations.

“Not only are cash-only businesses targets for crime, cannabis businesses are further
disadvantaged compared to other legal businesses by being unable to open bank accounts
or obtain loans at reasonable rates. The cannabis industry is legal in some form in the
majority of U.S. states and it is too large of a market to be prohibited from banking

The legilsaiton, according to the authors, will result in a safer industry, as banks will be subjected to anti-money laundering regulations and “Know Your Customer” rules.

The governors of Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Guam, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, the Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin signed the measure, as well as the mayor of the District of Columbia.