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New Poll Finds Americans Support Cannabis Banking Reform

A banking survey finds that two in three Americans want Congress to pass marijuana banking legislation.



According to a recent report, a new poll by the American Bankers Association (ABA) finds that two out of three Americans want Congress to enact legislation allowing state-legal cannabis companies access to traditional banking services, including checking accounts and loans.


The survey featured two marijuana banking questions. The first asked those surveyed whether they feel cannabis businesses should receive access to basic financial services. The second inquired if Congress should do something about it.


66% of those surveyed indicated they favor the current legislation enabling access, with 37% saying they "strongly" approve it. Only 16% said they oppose Congress enacting bank reform policies.


In a press release, Rob Nichols, President and CEO of the ABA, said, "Americans firmly believe that now is the time to resolve the ongoing conflict between state and federal law to allow banks to serve legal cannabis and cannabis-related businesses. (Therefore,) we urge Congress to pass the SAFE Banking Act this year to enhance public safety in the 38 states where cannabis is legal in some form."


"Americans firmly believe that now is the time to resolve the ongoing conflict between state and federal law to allow banks to serve legal cannabis and cannabis-related businesses. (Therefore,) we urge Congress to pass the SAFE Banking Act this year to enhance public safety in the 38 states where cannabis is legal in some form."

- Rob Nichols, President and CEO of the ABA


The bipartisan legislation known as the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, originating from Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), has been passed in the House of Representatives in some form seven times now. Nevertheless, it has continued to fall short of passing in the Senate under both Republican and Democratic control. However, the reform is currently being proposed as part of a forthcoming package of marijuana legislative initiatives being finalized by Senate leadership.


In a phone interview last week with Marijuana Moment, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) voiced his belief that Congressional leadership understands that the lack of access to safe banking poses a genuine and dire problem, especially for minority entrepreneurs.


As he shared, "There are hundreds and hundreds of robberies—dozens of instances of violence—and it falls heavily on people who don't have the massive resources to be able to ride this out and pay the premium attached to being forced to be all cash. I think they are making real progress. I'm confident that (the legislation) is going to move forward in the lame-duck session. And I think the prospects for passage are very high."


"There are hundreds and hundreds of robberies—dozens of instances of violence—and it falls heavily on people who don't have the massive resources to be able to ride this out and pay the premium attached to being forced to be all cash. I think they are making real progress. I'm confident that (the legislation) is going to move forward in the lame-duck session. And I think the prospects for passage are very high."

- Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)


Additionally, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) is also confident that the soon-to-be-filed legislation known as "SAFE Plus" has an incredibly "good shot" of passing during the rapidly approaching lame-duck period between the election and the start of the new Congressional session in 2023.


Along with the passionate voices of legislators like Perlmutter, Blumenauer, and Booker on Capitol Hill, members of the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST), including Colorado State Treasurer Dave Young (D), recently reiterated their continuing support for a resolution voicing support for the SAFE Banking Act.


Echoing the sentiments of Rep. Blumenauer, Young shared in a separate statement that the status quo has led to a "21st century Wild West in which armed hold-ups and storefront heists are becoming an all-too-common risk."


Moreover, while the groundbreaking legislation passage is still in the air, Congressional power brokers like Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have seen the polls and heard the outcry. At a White House event last month, Schumer and Perlmutter spoke about the push to pass the "Safe Plus" version of the reform, with the hope of putting together a version of the act that can hopefully finally pass in the Senate.


The conversation between Schumer and Perlmutter coincided with the lobby days of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). The timing could not have been more perfect, with over 100 cannabis business leaders convening on Capitol Hill to push for the passage of the SAFE Banking Act.


Along with the financial services provisions, there is also a hopeful expectation that the version being fashioned by Schumer and bipartisan and bicameral officers will also contain proposals for cannabis research, access to medical marijuana for veterans, and other impactful marijuana legislative initiatives.


The need for safe and reliable access to traditional banking services has been a hot-button topic for cannabis companies struggling to navigate the "real-life" problems created by the paradoxically stifling contrast between state and federal cannabis laws for years.


Furthermore, the passage of the SAFE Act or the Senate's "SAFE Plus" version may not solve all of the challenges confronting those business owners in states with medical marijuana and legal adult-use programs. However, it would help alleviate many of the literal life-and-death issues many companies (especially the minority-owned) face daily.


Election Day is 13 days away. The push for the legalization of this multi-faceted and dynamic plant began almost exactly ten years ago. At every stage of its journey from an illegal substance to an approved option for medicinal and recreational use, cannabis has always relied on the people's will. And once again, the only way the voice of the majority of Americans who favor legalizing cannabis at the federal level will have maximum impact is at the polls. So, get out and VOTE!



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