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“I am not here to say that SAFE banking will magically ease access to capital problems, but it will help more than the status quo.”

Written by Calico Castile, Minority Cannabis Business Association

Safe banking or nothing?

this is the question.

Over the past few weeks, there has been a lot of talk from people who don’t own the touch plant cannabis business about how the Safe Banking and Fair Enforcement Act (SAFE) won’t help minority operators.

Here’s the problem: Our current legislative choice in the 117th Congress is to pass the Safe Banking Act or pass nothing.

Overhaul may take three years or more – at best.

resolution Withdraw SAFE Banking from the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Further evidence that even gradual change is difficult on Capitol Hill.

The Marijuana Reissue and Deletion Act (more), which would end the federal cannabis ban, and the Safe Banking Act (SAFE) have received hearings in their jurisdiction committees and a House floor vote in the last Congress — but only Safe Banking has taken place. It passed the House of Representatives in this Congress where it is still stalled in the Senate, oddly enough because of the resistance of the Party of Our Heroes.

Moore’s Act was the first comprehensive legislation that would end federal bans and overturn convictions for cannabis to gain momentum. The bill has The Judicial Committee passed again this year But so far he has not received any commitment to submit to a vote in this Congress.

Whether the challenges with the bill itself, including concerns about the effectiveness of erasure, small business and regulatory provisions, or the entry of the new shiny thing, The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAO)The MORE Act is unlikely to get a Senate vote anytime soon — even with more than 100 sponsors in the House right now.

The CAO Act, the draft debate put forward by Senators Schumer, Booker and Weyden, was based in large part on the property rights provisions of the MORE Act with an additional focus on the regulatory framework. While the CAO bill provided an opportunity to strengthen and improve the equity provisions of the MORE Act, there is still no timetable regarding the bill’s formal introduction.

Once introduced, the CAO will face the same stalling hurdle that currently hampers progress on issues that have more bipartisan support than just cannabis reform.

Unless Democrats defy electoral history, they will lose one or both houses of Congress in 2022, leaving the Republican Party in check and unlikely to push any legislation focused on cannabis forward. A just reform of cannabis will not be successful.

Maybe State Reform Act (SRA), recently introduced by Representative Nancy Mays (SC-Republic), He will move with the Republicans in control, but the Democrats’ chances of giving the case to the Republican Party to win are very slim.

If Republicans retake the House and/or Senate midterms for 2022, we’ll be in the 2024 presidential election cycle without passing any additional bill (SAFE Banking) or a blanket bill (MORE, CAO, or SRA). Given the uncertain outcome of the 2024 election, the wait could be longer.

Waiting means leaving more than 300,000 employees in the cannabis industry at risk of losing their bank and personal retirement accounts, being unable to apply for housing loans, or paying their bills in the normal way.

The wait means that very few black and brown entrepreneurs trying to work in the industry will still be denied basic business services.

Leaving them with increased compliance costs, making it difficult to pay their employees and contractors as well as creating significant public safety risks as they are forced to keep hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash on site – or even on their person while they go to pay their tax bills.

The wait means that potential social justice applicants who already have to start from a disadvantage are left to fend for themselves without access to basic banking services. Even when they get the investment/access to capital, where can they store it safely and deploy it effectively?

Is the banking system structurally racist? Absolutely. Will SAFE Banking Provide a Safe Haven for Large Financial Institutions? 1,000 percent. Will loans be disproportionately given to white cannabis operators? Possible. Do all of these things make it more common for Black and Brown operators to take advantage of SAFE Banking and obtain loans and/or bank accounts?

of course not.

All of these things could be true.

Even one more black or brown businessman with access to a bank account is an improvement over the status quo. Making legislative change is not a test of purity. It’s about keeping the bigger picture in mind while accepting small gains along the way.

Will SAFE Banking bring people who deserve to get out of prison back into society? No, does SAFE Banking automatically clear records for cannabis convictions? I hope.

What do you do, or what do you do?

It helps protect the existing minority business operators who are forced to operate in all monetary environments and are unable to secure their business.

Just last week, a Dozens of Oakland clinics were robbed for $5 million Cash value and product (donate to the Supernova Women’s Relief Fund Here). Do you think SAFE Banking is only about big banks and “MSO Gang”? tell that to Take Planet, who says he felt selling cannabis on the streets of Auckland was safer than being a sitting duck running a legal cash-based business.

Sometimes I feel that the cannabis movement needs to Energizing on the legislative process. The choice is not SAFE Banking vs MORE Act – pass something now or not pass anything.

The Security Council has passed SAFE five times and it is the only legislation in the industry ready for a vote in the Senate today. This is how the legislative process works.

I’m not here to say that SAFE banking will magically ease access to capital problems, but it will help more than the status quo.

Now that SAFE is no longer in the NDAA, the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) will continue to push an amendment that would include protections for Community Financial Depository Institutions (CFDIs) as well as Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), which have a history of lending to black and brown communities.

Leave no doubt that the MCBA Call does not begin or end with SAFE Banking, but its passage is critical to the survival of the few Black and Brown operators currently operating.

How do we expect social justice programs (many of which suffer) to function without basic access to business services such as checking accounts?

It is simply disingenuous for people and organizations of good will to act as if comprehensive reform will surely pass this or the next Congress. Political reality does not align with those idealistic hopes for legislative victory.

SAFE Banking is a no-brainer for anyone who has been in this industry at any time in the past 10 years without a bank account.

Access to banking is about equity.

end of story.

Calico Castile is the boss Minority Cannabis Business Association and co-founder of ThndrStrm Strategies, a digital strategy firm. Disclosure: It also supports the work of Marijuana Moment via A Monthly pledge on Patreon.

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