Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on the Senate Banking Committee holding a markup on the bipartisan SAFER Banking Act. The committee voted to advance the bill with a bipartisan vote of 14-9. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
This morning, as we speak, the Banking Committee is holding a markup on our bipartisan SAFER Banking Act.
Today’s markup of SAFER Banking represents a huge step forward in the Senate’s effort to help cannabis businesses operate more efficiently, more safely, more transparently.
I worked long and hard to get to this point with Chairman Brown and Ranking Member Scott. And a special thanks to Senators Merkley, Daines, Lummis, Sinema, and Reed, because I thank them for their cooperation as well. It's been a goal of mine since we started this session of the Senate to move forward on this legislation.
And the good news: the SAFER Banking bill is about to be reported out of committee with strong bipartisan support this morning. Once it’s reported out of committee, I will bring SAFER Banking to the floor for a vote as quickly as possible.
For too long, cannabis businesses have been forced to rely primarily on cash transactions – no credit or debit cards. Dealing only in cash stifles these businesses’ growth, opens them up to so many risks, makes them easy targets for theft, robbery, other crimes.
No industry has the ability to thrive if they can’t access basic banking infrastructure– especially not an industry that’s growing as quickly, and is as new, as the cannabis industry.
Congress has always been in the business of promoting entrepreneurs, promoting small business, promoting job growth.
We should continue doing so with the cannabis industry. Our SAFER Banking Act will connect cannabis businesses – especially ones in minority and underserved communities – to traditional financial resources like bank accounts and small business loans, creating a safer and more transparent environment for the industry to grow.
I am also committed to including criminal justice provisions like HOPE and GRAM in SAFER Banking. I’ve long advocated for expungement of records for cannabis offenses, and with SAFER Banking moving through the committee in a strong bipartisan way, now is the time to get it done.
So again, I thank my colleagues on both sides for their work on this legislation, which has been an effort years, years in the making.
And once it’s reported out of committee, I will put SAFER Banking on the floor for a vote very soon.