Giving cannabis companies banking access would save the government money

Thor Benson / Cannabis News Box Contributor

There is a cannabis banking bill, the SAFE Banking Act, being debated in the House of Representatives that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says would actually save the government money. Furthermore, it would contribute to a huge increase in business for banks and credit unions around the country.

The CBO claims that if the bill were to be passed this year, it would mean a gain of $1.2 billion in deposits for banks and over $200 million for credit unions within a few years. The CBO claims that since this would add to bank revenues, it would mean there’d be less of a chance of any banks failing, which means it’d be cheaper to let cannabis businesses have access to banking than to possibly have to deal with the costly consequences of letting banks fail.

All the bill does is protect banks that do business with cannabis companies from being penalized by the federal government. Banks are technically allowed to do business with cannabis companies right now, but since they’re federally regulated and cannabis is illegal at the federal level, most banks simply don’t want to take the risk. This bill passing would mean the risk would be essentially eliminated.

“Banks are eager to work with the burgeoning cannabis industry, and this bill would make it much easier for them to do so, bringing them many new customers, increased revenue, and opportunities to grant loans to small businesses,” Morgan Fox, media relations director for the National Cannabis Industry Association, told Cannabis News Box.

Not only would this bill benefit banks and cannabis businesses, while saving the government some money, but it would also make it easier for the government to keep track of the cannabis industry. As things stand, business is largely done in cash, which makes it harder for the government to keep track of what businesses are doing.

“Access to banking would make oversight and tracking easier for regulators, would eliminate the dangers to tax collectors who are often forced to deal with dangerously large amounts of cash, and would improve the abilities of law enforcement agencies to determine whether businesses are in compliance with state law or identify potential criminal activity,” Fox said.

Fox said he thinks it’s “very likely” the House will pass the SAFE Banking Act, and he isn’t sure if it will make it through the Senate. It’s also unclear if the president would sign the bill if it does make it through the Senate, but Fox said he’s hopeful the president would sign it. The bill has been gaining support from figures on the left and the right for months, so the cannabis industry’s banking problem could soon be solved.