Tester Backs Bipartisan Legislation to Unlock Banking Access for Legal Cannabis Businesses
Senator’s SAFE Banking Act would allow legal cannabis businesses to access banking services such as lines of credit, savings and checking accounts
U.S. Senator Jon Tester joined a bipartisan group of colleagues in re-introducing his Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act to ensure that legal marijuana businesses can access banking services, such as lines of credit, savings and checking accounts, processing customers’ credit cards and employee payrolls.
“As a third-generation Montana farmer, I know how important it is for small businesses in rural America to have access to banking services,” said Tester. “Our bipartisan SAFE Banking Act is a commonsense fix that will allow legally-operated Montana small businesses to access the financial services they need to thrive, while also making our communities safer by cutting down on cash-motivated crimes.”
Tester’s bipartisan bill would allow banks to work with cannabis businesses and prevent any federal banking regulator from intervening or punishing those banks. Currently, because marijuana is a Schedule I drug it is federal illegal for financial institutions for take funds that are marijuana related, even in states where medical or recreational marijuana is legal. This includes the businesses and owners themselves, but also related businesses like landlords and vendors. The lack of access to bank accounts, credit cards, and checks have forced state authorized cannabis businesses to operate in cash, opening the door to tax evasion and making cannabis businesses targets of potential crime.
In addition to supporting the SAFE Banking Act, Tester is also introducing his bipartisan Clarifying Law Around Insurance of Marijuana (CLAIM) Act – legislation that ensures legal marijuana and related businesses have access to comprehensive and affordable insurance coverage.
As Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Tester has introduced bipartisan legislation that pushes the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to conduct research on the health effects of medicinal cannabis for veterans experiencing chronic pain and symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).