Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today released the following statement on the introduction of the SAFER Banking Act, historic legislation to give cannabis-related businesses access to critical banking infrastructure and allow them to pay their employees, protect their customers and ensure public safety:
“For too long, the federal government has continued to punish marijuana users and business owners – even when doing so is actively harmful to our country. This ‘war on drugs’ has turned into a war on people and communities – specifically people and communities of color – and a war on business.
“This agreement allows cannabis businesses that have traditionally operated in cash to finally have the opportunity to accept credit and debit cards, allowing them to grow their businesses, pay their employees, protect their customers and ensure public safety.
“The bipartisan deal that has come together on the SAFER Banking Act addresses some of the most significant barriers to finally ensuring cannabis businesses, particularly smaller and minority businesses including people of color, women, veterans, and tribal communities that have historically been disadvantaged, would have equal access to critical banking infrastructure. By moving state-licensed businesses into the mainstream, we can work to ensure unbanked small businesses of all backgrounds won’t be closed for political reasons or cut out of a growing industry.
“I intend to bring the SAFER Banking Act to the Senate floor with all due speed, I am committed to including the HOPE Act as well as the GRAM Act. I’ve long advocated for expungement of records for cannabis offenses, and with SAFER Banking moving through the committee in such a strong, bipartisan way, I believe now is the time to get it done.
“I want to thank Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown and Ranking Member Tim Scott for the bipartisan markup announced for September 27th and for bringing this bill through regular order. I also want to thank Senators Merkley, Daines, Sinema, Lummis, and Reed for all their work to reach an agreement that has set the groundwork for this historic vote on cannabis legislation. I look forward to seeing the bill pass out of committee, so we can vote on it on the Senate floor.”