During the last year of his service in Congress, Rep. Ed Perlmutter pledged continued work to pass the ABA-advocated SAFE Banking Act. “I will continue to be a real pest,” he said with a smile at ABA’s Washington Summit today.
The SAFE Banking Act would provide clarity to financial institutions looking to serve legitimate cannabis businesses, in addition to creating a safe harbor for depository institutions serving cannabis-related businesses in states where such activity is legal. It has passed multiple times in the House with large bipartisan majorities, but has not moved in the Senate yet. Perlmutter noted that Democratic leaders in the Senate would like to add additional measures that deal with expungement of cannabis-related convictions, address taxation and other issues. But “as we expand this thing, we start losing votes, particularly Republican votes,” Perlmutter said.
The public safety problems associated with cannabis businesses not being able to join the financial mainstream have continued, Perlmutter said. He added that “it’s gotten a little worse in the last month” with a sheriff in California seizing cash from state-legal marijuana businesses being carried in an armored truck.