SAFE Banking and Steps That Can Be Taken in Support of It

As you likely know, the federal SAFE Banking Act would make it easier for cannabis businesses to secure banking access. This is important for the safety of cannabis workers (to reduce the risk of robberies), for the efficiency of businesses (thus helping reduce prices) , and now for public health (to reduce the reliance on cash, which could have the virus on it).

This is a little bit of a dive into the current state of SAFE, its possible passage via the stimulus package, and the steps you or your org can take that would be timely and effective in support.

Leader McConnell came out with some negative statements today, directed specifically at the diversity provisions that appeared in SAFE and were included in the stimulus draft. At this point we are not sure how much that will impact the trajectory of the banking provisions in SAFE over the next few weeks – and it’s worth noting his hemp constituents will be direct benficiaries of the provisions. Here’s where we see things at the moment:

In the House

While the SAFE provisions are in the package already, we believe that package will be hotly debated for several weeks. Despite that, we do think the SAFE provisions will remain in the final version, for the simple fact that it already passed the House by a wide margin, and House members would not want to be seen as holding it up.

While we think it will likely pass the House, it will have opposition. A key consideration during this period of debate will be whether SAFE is “necessary and germane” to COVID-19, and not simply inserted in a must-pass measure. We saw that in responses to McConnell’s comments on Twitter. We believe the strongest new argument among Republicans is that banks need the currency to lend out to other businesses in need. For the Democrats, we are emphasizing the health and safety of their constituents and government workers processing large amounts of cash.

In the Senate

The more significant challenge will be in the Senate. On that score, our best asset is that Republicans want to help Sen. Cory Gardner, currently locked in a senatorial race with former Gov. Hickenlooper. Gardner is a strong advocate for safe banking, and passage of the SAFE provisions helps his campaign. Don is in regular communications with Gardner and his staff.

Our second best asset is that financial institutions and other large business interests are also interested in SAFE Banking,and this is where we are asking for your help

Steps you can take

If your company has a good relationship with your banker, or if you have allies such as law firms, tax or accounting firms, or other companies that operate on a national level, please consider reaching out and enlisting their voices. Specifically, we want these ancillary institutions talking with members of the Senate Banking Committee, and asking for their support on this issue before the next stimulus package is up for consideration in the Senate. They already know cannabis companies want it – now let’s magnify the message.The members and their contact information is available here and I listed them below. Please consider reaching out to your network if you see an opportunity.

Majority Members (13)
Minority Members (12)
Crapo, Mike (ID), Chairman
Shelby, Richard C. (AL)
Toomey, Patrick J. (PA)
Scott, Tim (SC)
Sasse, Ben (NE)
Cotton, Tom (AR)
Rounds, Mike (SD)
Perdue, David (GA)
Tillis, Thom (NC)
Kennedy, John (LA)
McSally, Martha (AZ)
Moran, Jerry (KS)
Cramer, Kevin (ND)
Brown, Sherrod (OH), Ranking Member
Reed, Jack (RI)
Menendez, Robert (NJ)
Tester, Jon (MT)
Warner, Mark R. (VA)
Warren, Elizabeth (MA)
Schatz, Brian (HI)
Van Hollen, Chris (MD)
Cortez Masto, Catherine (NV)
Jones, Doug (AL)
Smith, Tina (MN)
Sinema, Kyrsten (AZ)