Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on the reintroduction of the bipartisan SAFE Banking Act. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Yesterday, Senators from both sides of the aisle, I’ve met with them repeatedly, reintroduced the SAFE Banking Act.
SAFE Banking Act would ensure cannabis businesses that operate in states with legal cannabis have equal access to critical banking infrastructure. Clearly, this bill has provisions particularly aimed at helping minority business owners who are at a critical disadvantage in the cannabis industry.
Right now, the norm for the cannabis businesses is to operate on all cash, and that is simply not fair: it exposes them to too many risks and stifles their opportunities to grow. Congress should be in the business of promoting entrepreneurs, promoting job growth, not holding these things back!
I’ve worked very hard to make progress on SAFE Banking Plus, and the work will continue.
But I’ve also made it clear that one of my top priorities to ensure SAFE Banking passes is that it contain critical criminal justice provisions, most importantly, expunging criminal records for certain low-level marijuana offenses.
We have a moral responsibility in Congress to undo the terrible damage caused by the War on Drugs, and almost always has affected people of color. So I am going to work very hard with my colleagues to make sure criminal justice provisions are part of SAFE Banking when it reaches the floor.
I thank all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. We’ve met numerous times, and I think everyone is working in good faith, including Senators Merkley, Daines, Brown, Sullivan, and Paul—a bipartisan group if there ever was one.
I look forward to working with my colleagues—Democrat and Republican—to make progress on SAFE Banking Plus this Congress. And I hope this portends more bipartisan cooperation on future cannabis legislation.