Bank officials and representatives of the cannabis industry joined hands to tell the Congress to permit cannabis organizations to access to banking services. During the hearing of the House Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions Subcommittee, lawmakers listened to advocates of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2019 who are in favor of the bill.
For reasons concerning the federal drug and money laundering regulations, even marijuana organizations legally working under state laws are usually denied access to financial services. Although other industries regularly use these economic services, the cannabis industry is yet to use it. Therefore, organizations in the cannabis industry often transact only in cash, and this puts the firms and their employees at great danger. The SAFE Banking Act would safeguard financial institutions and also permit more banks to deal with the cannabis industry.
According to the representative of the Independent Community Bankers of America, Gregory S. Deckard, the legislation would provide the necessary clarification” to financial institutions work don’t want to offer their services to cannabis organizations.
According to Mason Tvert, the communications director for the advocacy group the Marijuana Policy Project, the SAFE Banking Act isn’t based on legalizing marijuana at the federal level.
According to Tvert, lawmakers are not required to decide on whether cannabis should be legalized or not. They are just observing if banking services should be accessible to these businesses in legal marijuana states.
According to the founding member of the Congressional Cannabis Congress, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, lawmakers have to seek for an answer to the banking issue.
Blumenauer said that he has been working on the project for years all over the country and nobody trusts the idea to ban cannabis businesses from having banking services.
The chairman of anti-legalization group Project SAM, Johnathan Talcott was the only person to oppose the bill. Supporters of the SAFE Banking Act stated that Talcott is an attorney for the firm Nelson Mullins, which was contracted by Weedmaps to influence the marijuana industry.
According to Marijuana Policy Project director of federal policies Don Murphy, it’s in his position to testify in Congress, but he is an employee of a firm whose clients defy what he wants to prove.
The policy director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Justin Strekal, made some critical statements about Talcott. He said that Mr. Talcott is a hypocrite of the worst kind.
However, Talcott responded to the criticism by saying that there was no conflict of interest.
Talcott said also said that he is not receiving any money from the cannabis industry and he doesn’t plan on doing so.
According to Murphy, Talcott’s presence at the hearing meant that the bill was set to be criticized.
Murphy also added that the presence of a conflicted person like Talcott’s at the Congress would bring a lot of opposition. And the opponent doesn’t have much to say. He finally added that “They didn’t bring a doctor, they didn’t bring a scientist, they brought a hack.”