21 U.S. governors confirm support for cannabis banking by signing letter to Congress

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

In a bold move that could push things in the right direction for banking-starved cannabis companies, 50 of the nation’s governors have inked a promising letter that was sent to Congressional leaders last week.

The letter’s purpose? To encourage Congressional leaders to approve the Secure And Fair Enforcement Banking (SAFE) Banking Act which, if enacted into law, would grant state-legal cannabis businesses with safe access to banking services from respected financial institutions.

“Simply put, this is a public safety issue that Congress has a responsibility to address,” states the letter, which received a signature from 21 governors who act on behalf of both notable political parties the “Democratic” Party and the “Republican” Party.

In addition to this, the letter was signed by the Governor of Guam, the Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Mayor of Washington D.C., as well as 20 Democrats and four Republican governors from Alaska, Massachusetts, North Dakota and Utah.

“The SAFE Banking Act has now passed the U.S. House of Representatives five times, but the Senate has never voted on the measure. The SAFE Banking Act has more bipartisan support than ever before, and Congress must take steps to ensure that this measure is included in the final version of the NDAA that goes to President Biden’s desk,” reads an excerpt from the letter.

How does the cannabis industry stand to benefit from the SAFE Banking Act?

Back in September, the SAFE Banking Act was added to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Initially passed in 1961, the NDAA sanctions various levels of funding and specifies an annual budget for the U.S. Department of Defense.

According to U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, there’s still a good chance that the SAFE Banking Act which has been introduced five times already could be enacted into law. In the event that this does happen, cannabis businesses that have long-been trying to gain help from the banking sector could finally get some much-needed financial assistance.

Not only would the SAFE Banking Act permit credit card companies to authorize cannabis-focused transactions but also, the Act would make the overall process of buying cannabis much easier. Moreover, customers would even get the chance to buy cannabis via CashApp, Venmo and various other payment applications; should the law be adopted.

Cannabis banking benefits stripped from federally-authorized cannabis and psychedelics research institute

The Bank of America (BoA), which is recognized as the second-largest banking institution in the U.S., has announced that it is closing the account of the Scottsdale Research Institute (SRI). Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, SRI is one of the few research institute’s that have been federally authorized to grow and study a broad spectrum of Schedule I substances, including cannabis and psilocybin.

A letter that was addressed to SRI’s founder, Dr. Sue Sisley, confirmed that BoA would, without clear reasoning, be revoking its accounts in mid-October. According to a report on the subject by Marjiuana Moment, the bank told Sisley that it came to a decision following a “careful review of your banking relationship.” Unfortunately, the action is believed to be “final and won’t be reconsidered.”

For years, SRI has been pushing to broaden access to research-grade controlled substances for scientists who wish to investigate the plant’s therapeutic potential. During May of this year, SRI was awarded preliminary approval to become one of the first ever federally-approved cultivators of cannabis for research.