On September 25th, 2019, the United States House passed the Secure and Fair Enforcement Act (SAFE, aka H.R.1595). This bill is monumentous if it passes because it will finally allow Cannabis companies to work directly with banks and start accepting debit services. As stated from the bill’s summary (1):
The bill prohibits a federal banking regulator from 1. terminating or limiting the deposit insurance or share insurance of a depository institution solely because the institution provides financial services to a legitimate marijuana-related business; 2. prohibiting or otherwise discouraging a depository institution from offering financial services to such a business; 3. recommending, incentivizing, or encouraging a depository institution not to offer financial services to an account holder solely because the account holder is affiliated with such a business; 4. taking any adverse or corrective supervisory action on a loan made to a person solely because the person either owns such a business or owns real estate or equipment leased or sold to such a business; or 5. penalizing a depository institution for processing or collecting payments for such a business.
This bill now moves on and has to be passed by the Senate, then signed by the President. Many are not hopeful for this bill because Cannabis is still illegal at the federal level and scheduled as a Class 1 drug by the DEA due to the fact that it is a “drug, substance, or chemical with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse” (2).
In a perfect world, Cannabis would be decriminalized across the nation, this bill would pass, and the industry would boom improving revenue across the board. For states like Oregon that tax their recreational users and put that money toward state programs, quality of life would improve.
If you are curious about what exactly our weed taxes go to here in Oregon, Measure 91 provides distribution of revenue after costs to the following (3):
- 40 percent to Common School Fund
- 20 percent to Mental Health Alcoholism and Drug Services
- 15 percent to State Police
- 10 percent to Cities for enforcement of the measure
- 10 percent to Counties for enforcement of the measure
- 5 percent to Oregon Health Authority for alcohol and drug abuse prevention
If we continue with the good life theme, after the scheduling drops from Class 1, scientists and other industries will finally be able to do research on the different aspects of the plant, hemp industries would thrive and remove our need for logging, our carbon footprint would decrease, and so much more.
In our real world, this is currently unlikely to happen. The bill will likely struggle and die in the Senate or get turned down by the President. With that being said, if you want to do something about it, now would be the time to contact your US Senators and let your voices heard.
Whether you support it or not, let them know. For Oregon residents, that would be Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley. They can be contacted in the following ways:
Jeff Merkley- (D – OR)
313 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington DC, 20510
Ron Wyden- (D – OR)
221 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington DC, 20510