SAFE Banking Act 2019
The cannabis banking bill isn’t just about banks.
It’s also about repairing damage from the “war on drugs.”
Congress finally began to act on the nation’s first stand-alone cannabis reform legislation. The SAFE Banking Act, as it’s known, seeks to provide protections to financial institutions that work with state-licensed cannabis businesses, extending them the same protections afforded other businesses. The House is expected to vote this week and signs are growing that the Senate may soon consider it as well.
While the law—like most—is imperfect, it addresses a serious problem: A lack of access to banking by cannabis-related businesses means many operate in a cash-only environment, which has serious consequences including increased violent crime, higher costs and reduced access to financial data for law enforcement.
But there is a potentially more far-reaching aspect of this bill, one that may not be immediately obvious: The opportunity to ameliorate the effects of the “war on drugs” on communities of color. This is an important step, one that lawmakers shouldn’t underestimate.