Marijuana businesses can’t openly bank and congressman Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., is hoping to change that.
Perlmutter on Thursday introduced the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (SAFE Banking Act), legislation that would allow banks to serve marijuana-related businesses without fear of penalties from the federal government.
Whether the third time’s the charm remains to be seen, but a lot has changed in four years — and even two years — for the marijuana legalization landscape, Perlmutter and co-sponsors Denny Heck, D-Washington, and Don Young, R-Alaska, said in a statement.
“With the majority of states now allowing for some form of recreational or medical marijuana, we have reached a tipping point on this issue and it’s time for Congress to act,” Perlmutter said. “Allowing tightly regulated marijuana businesses the ability to access the banking system will help reduce the threat of crime, robbery and assault in our communities and keep the cash out of cartels.”
Perlmutter positioned the legislation as a means to boost public safety, referencing threats that arise because these businesses operate primarily in cash. He noted the death of Travis Mason, a security guard who was killed during an attempted robbery of a marijuana dispensary in Aurora, Colorado.
Twenty-nine states and a couple of U.S. territories have legalized the medical use of marijuana. Among those, eight states and Washington, D.C., also allow recreational use by adults over 21 years of age.
This article was first published at TheCannabist.co.