Cannabis business leaders from across the country convened in Washington, D.C., for the National Cannabis Industry Association’s 10th Annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days on September 14.
Over the course of the day, more than 100 meetings took place with Congressional representatives to discuss the impact federal prohibition policies have on the legal cannabis industry.
The fly-in takes place amid continued support for regulated marijuana markets, which now include 37 states with some form of medical cannabis laws, and 19 states with adult-use cannabis laws. Lobby Days participants advocated for the passage of the SAFE Banking Act (S. 910) in the Senate. The legislation, which has been approved by the House seven times, would provide safe harbor to financial institutions that bank legal cannabis businesses.
Current federal banking regulations have forced much of the legal cannabis industry to operate on a cash-only basis. Advocates are hopeful that the Senate will take action to resolve these issues by passing the SAFE Banking Act before the end of the year.
“Every legal business deserves the same access to the same resources as any other — resources like bank accounts, loans, payment processing, and so much more,” says Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR). “When it comes to cannabis, the country is changing fast and it’s long past time that our federal laws caught up. With more and more states across the country voting to change their cannabis laws, we cannot keep forcing these legitimate businesses to operate entirely with cash. This is a nonsensical rule that is an open invitation to robbery and money laundering. Let’s make 2022 the year that we get this bill signed into law so we can ensure that all legal cannabis businesses have access to the financial services they need to help keep their employees and communities safe.”
A recent Pew Research Center poll found that less than 10% of Americans still support marijuana prohibition, with 60% wanting cannabis legal for medical and adult-use and 31% supporting legalization for medical use only.