Attorneys General from 38 U.S. States and five Territories are calling on Congress to pass to the “SAFE Banking Act” that will allow legal marijuana businesses access to the massive U.S. banking system. SAFE stands for Secure And Fair Enforcement.
This bipartisan group sent a letter to congressional leaders Thursday, saying they want to move the $8.3 billion marijuana industry into the regulated banking sector where its money can be better monitored. They noted that many marijuana businesses transact in cash, making revenue tracking and taxation more difficult for states.
"Businesses are forced to operate on a cash basis," said the letter. "The resulting grey market makes it more difficult to track revenues for taxation and regulatory compliance purposes, contributes to a public safety threat as cash-intensive businesses are often targets for criminal activity, and prevents proper tracking of billions in finances across the nation."
Most states and several U.S. territories have legalized medical marijuana. Ten states and the District of Columbia have legalized adult recreational use of marijuana.
The letter calls on Congress to advance the SAFE Banking Act (and other similar legislation) and expand financial services to legitimate cannabis-related businesses and service providers while reducing the amount of cash they hold.
"Our banking system must be flexible enough to address the needs of businesses in the various states and territories, with state and territorial input, while protecting the interests of the federal government," wrote the attorneys general.
"This includes a banking system for marijuana-related businesses that is both responsive and effective in meeting the demands of our economy."