Cannabis reform moved several steps forward with the passage of the Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act at the U.S., House of Representatives this week and the recent push by several state and territorial Attorneys General for the passage of the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act.
Earlier, a bipartisan coalition of 21 AGs urged Congress to pass the STATES Act or similar measures that would allow legal cannabis-related businesses to access the banking system.
The coalition was led by District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine who said that current federal banking laws, which reflect the federal status of marijuana as an illegal drug, force legitimate cannabis companies nationwide to operate mainly in cash.
The STATES Act would bring billions of dollars of existing cash transactions into the regulated banking sector, subject them to oversight, and reduce the risk of both violent and white-collar crime affecting the growing marijuana industry.
The coalition was led by Racine, New York AG Letitia James, and Nevada AG Aaron Ford, and joined by Attorneys General from eighteen states.
Although Guam is not a signatory to the letter, Guam Attorney General Leevin Camacho informed NewsTalk K57 that Guam supports this initiative.
The legal cannabis industry in 33 states and several U.S. territories employs hundreds of thousands of Americans nationwide and is expected to generate revenue between $50-$80 billion over the next 10 years. Current federal law prevents banks from providing services to these state-regulated businesses, which forces them to operate almost entirely in cash and poses serious safety threats to their employees.
Following the passage of the SAFE ACT at the House of Representatives, it would have to get the approval of the Republican-controlled Senate. Meanwhile, the STATES ACT awaits Congressional action following the call made by the AGs.