A bipartisan group of attorneys general for 34 U.S. states and territories sent a letter to Senate and House leadership May 19, urging them to include cannabis banking reform in upcoming coronavirus relief legislation, as reported by The Washington Times.
In the letter, the attorneys general argue that the COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the need for legislative relief in three areas.
“First, threats to public safety caused by a cash-intensive business model, often the target of criminal activity, have intensified in the months since the pandemic began,” they wrote. “Next, the presence of large cash transactions places law enforcement, tax regulators, consumers, and patients at heightened risk of exposure to the virus. Finally, the ability to efficiently collect tax revenue from the marijuana industry, estimated to have generated $15 billion in sales in 2019, will provide critical relief for state and local governments predicting budget shortfalls due to the pandemic.”
The U.S. House passed the SAFE Banking Act, which would allow cannabis businesses to work freely with banks, on May 15 as part of the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, a $3-trillion relief bill aimed at the economic pressures of the coronavirus pandemic.
A standalone version of the SAFE Banking Act also cleared the House last fall, but the Senate has not yet taken any action on the legislation.
Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) specifically voiced his opposition to the cannabis banking provisions included in the HEROES Act, as first reported by Marijuana Moment.