Tag: Ed Perlmutter

Cannabis Banking Access a Part of U.S. House Coronavirus Stimulus Bill

The coronavirus pandemic has placed a strain on the United States economy that hasn’t been seen since the Great Depression. Unemployment has skyrocketed, and even as businesses start opening back up, there’s no guarantee that customers are going to have the money to shop like they used to or are going to be willing to risk COVID-19 infection by venturing into public spaces as much. Cannabis businesses, deemed essential in legal states across the nation, have been doing good sales numbers, but the many arbitrary obstacles that have stifled the industry remain.

One of the major issues, banking access, could be addressed in the next coronavirus stimulus bill, as Marijuana Moment reports:

House leadership unveiled a coronavirus relief bill on Tuesday that includes provisions to protect banks that service marijuana businesses from being penalized by federal regulators.

Advocates, stakeholders and lawmakers have been pushing for some form of cannabis reform to be inserted into COVID-19 legislation. And this round, they were successful, with the language of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act making the cut.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), chief sponsor of the standalone bill that is being included in the new broad package, previously raised the issue in a Democratic Caucus meeting and said Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) supported it.

With national politics being what is is today, there’s no telling if the cannabis banking language will remain in the legislation, or if another coronavirus relief bill will even get passed, but this is a good step in the right direction for the cannabis industry. The lack of ordinary banking services impacts not only cannabis businesses like Kind Leaf, but all of their vendors and employees.

The extra fees and costs then ultimately increase the prices that patients and customers pay. Please contact your representative and then spread the word and have your friends and family do the same. Whether you support cannabis businesses or not, everyone should support their access to ordinary banking services to improve community safety and the ability to pay taxes efficiently.

House Speaker Wisely Supports Cannabis Banking Access in Next Coronavirus Bill

The United States economy is in a freefall because of the coronavirus pandemic that has shut down many sectors of our economy and disrupted our American way of life. With over 17 million more Americans unemployed and retail sales plummeting more in March, than ever before, our nation is facing our greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. The cannabis industry, considered an essential business sector here in Oregon, and across the nation in medical and legal states, is providing jobs, revenue, and medicinal products, but, thus far, has been locked out of the stimulus benefits available to other businesses.

Fortunately, the exclusion of cannabis businesses may change in the near future as provisions to allow cannabis businesses access to banking services may be included in an upcoming COVID-19 stimulus bill. Representative Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) has stated that  such a provision has the support of top congressional leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

Marijuana Moment reported:

“I raised this very question to our caucus, to Speaker Nancy Pelosi directly last week, saying, look this is a major employer in Colorado and elsewhere around the country. They have been deemed essential services in many, many states,” Perlmutter said during the town hall call. “They cannot access any of the relief that we are providing for in any of these three packages that we have passed. She said, as did the other leadership members on the call, said she wanted to see it get passed.”

Perlmutter reiterated that the speaker supports his proposal and said the Democratic caucus will “continue to work on it over the next couple weeks as we put these additional packages together.”

***

“I continue to push for the passage and enactment of the SAFE Banking Act to ensure cannabis and cannabis-related businesses can access the banking system, including access to much-needed financial assistance during times of need such as this COVID-19 pandemic,” Perlmutter told Marijuana Moment. “I’m also focused on ensuring any federal funding for state and local governments remains flexible enough so as not to exclude cannabis businesses in states where they are legal, legitimate businesses.”

Only time will tell if the cannabis industry will finally get access to the banking services that they need and deserve. It is downright shameful and hypocritical for cannabis farmers, processors, labs, and retailers to be deemed essential businesses and risk their lives during a global pandemic while being treated as second-class citizens. Banking access won’t be everything that the cannabis industry needs, but it’s a start.