The Seattle City Council and Mayor signed a letter today calling on the U.S. Senate to pass the SAFE Banking Act.
This bill allows cannabis businesses to access normal banking services and shift away from the cash-only model they are currently forced to use under antiquated federal laws.
In large part because of the prohibition on banking, so far this year, there have been 3 murders and 80 robberies at cannabis stores in Washington State, according to the Craft Cannabis Coalition. That’s more than in all of 2020 and 2021 combined.
Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1 – West Seattle/South Park) noted, “Keeping cannabis businesses cash-only makes them targets for thefts. Without federal legislative action, workers’ lives will continue to be in danger.”
“Every small business deserves security and stability and every employee deserves to be safe at their place of work. Congress must act with urgency to pass the SAFE Banking Act and give retail cannabis stores the commonsense access to financial tools to help keep their workers, customers, and businesses safe,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell.
37 states and the District of Columbia have passed some form of medical or cannabis legalizations measures, creating a $25 billion industry. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the SAFE Banking Act with bipartisan support six times, but the Senate has never voted on the measure.
This February, the House added the SAFE Banking Act as part of the America COMPETES Act. However, the Senate version of the COMPETES Act does not include the SAFE Banking Act. This letter calls on Senators to include the SAFE Banking Act as part of the final COMPETES Act that goes to President Biden’s desk.