WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act on a bipartisan basis. Merkley authored the SAFE Banking Act to ensure that legal cannabis and hemp businesses in Oregon and across the country have access to banking services. Currently, because most banks are wary of serving businesses that are in conflict with federal law, many legal cannabis businesses are forced to operate in all cash, creating a dangerous situation for these businesses, their employees, and surrounding communities.
“Forcing businesses to operate in cash is an invitation to crime, money laundering, and robbery. Whether you’re for or against legal cannabis, we can all agree that we want our communities to be safe from fraud and crime. Today, we saw overwhelming support in the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the SAFE Banking Act and get this common-sense fix into law. Now it’s time for the Senate to act. While we continue to work to address broader issues related to the harmful legacy of cannabis prohibition across the country, I am hopeful that we can get the SAFE Banking Act moving quickly through committee, to the Senate floor, and ultimately, to the President’s desk.”
The SAFE Banking Act received a hearing in the Senate Banking Committee this July, and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) has recently indicated that he intends to move forward on legislation to address the cannabis banking issue.