Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) urged her colleagues to pass the SAFE Banking Act and finally allow cannabis businesses full access to the U.S. banking sector at a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing today.
At the hearing, Cortez Masto outlined the challenges and dangers that cannabis businesses in Nevada face because they can’t access traditional banking: “My office heard from one business owner in Las Vegas who said that the lack of access to banking creates logistical headaches and puts her and her employees at risk. Her business has to deposit large amounts cash at local banks, often at more than one bank in the same day because of cash deposit limits. This is burdensome and dangerous. Last year, after one of those deposit runs, this business owner’s car was broken into. Fearing that whoever had broken into her car now knew from her bank deposit slips that she carried large amounts of cash – her coworkers bought her a taser. She keeps it by her bed at night to feel safe.”
Cortez Masto continued, “This is outrageous. Banks already accept the money that legitimate marijuana business pay contractors and security firms. And it’s just common sense that they should serve the actual businesses too.” She pushed the witness panel to outline the long-term consequences of not passing the SAFE Banking Act.
Mr. Ademola Oyefeso, International Vice President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), who represents cannabis workers in Nevada said that until the SAFE Banking Act is passed, workers will continue to live in constant fear of being robbed or worse.
As a member of the Senate Finance Committee and a former Attorney General, Senator Cortez Masto has been a strong advocate for consumers and small business owners. Her bipartisan legislation to combat money laundering and terrorism was signed into law, ensuring the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) works with tribal law enforcement agencies, protects against domestic terrorism and focuses on virtual currencies.