SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Secure and Fair Enforcement, or SAFE, Banking Act moved to the U.S. Senate which, is great news for those who sell cannabis-related products.
The SAFE Act hopes to let financial institutions work with cannabis-related businesses who, right now, only work as ‘cash-only’ if they cannot find a bank to assume risk.
Banks currently cannot work with cannabis dispensaries because the increasingly decriminalized plant at the state level, is still illegal at a federal level.
“The federal laws on banking would mean you couldn’t use that avenue of commerce as an avenue of commerce that would result in legal banking,” said Republican Missouri Senator Roy Blunt in March.
Greg Lee, owner of ‘Hemporium’, a south Springfield store that sells products that stem from cannabis, says right now, it’s hard on businesses that can’t find a safe way to store their profits.
“You are technically not even able to get a bank account because of money laundering concerns and proceeds from criminal operations,” Lee said. “It’s more of a risk thing for the banks. So, if a bank is willing to accept the risk, the CRB’s (cannabis-related businesses) are usually going to have to pay exorbitant rates for that, far exceeding what a normal business would expect to pay for those same services.”
Lee says if the bill passes the Senate and gets President Trump’s signature of approval, it’ll help his business feel like any other business.
“We will be basically happy to be treated like a normal business again,” he said.
In Blunt’s March interview with OzarksFirst, he agreed that the SAFE Act should pass, saying it could also help keep track of transactions.
“I’m inclined to think, if we’re going to have this legal in our state,” said Blunt. “We need to work at a national level to be sure that federally certified banks and federally insured banks, which mean every bank, that those banks could actually all be part of what Missourians have decided was a legitimate business.”