From the looks of it, the SAFE Banking Act is a good piece of legislation. Because marijuana is illegal at the federal level, marijuana businesses in states where the drug is illegal don’t have access to traditional financial industry services, which means those businesses have to deal with a lot of cash. Cash attracts criminals, and marijuana businesses are the victims of many armed robberies. Some robberies have resulted in deaths. Some robberies have resulted in shootouts.
The SAFE Banking Act seeks to address the issue by allowing marijuana businesses to participate in the financial industry like any other lawful business. Customers would thus be able to transact with marijuana businesses using credit cards and electronic payments, taking cash out of the equation and making transactions safer for both the businesses and their customers. This would result in fewer incidents of “gun violence,” which our friends in the gun control organizations purportedly care about.
But there’s a wrinkle. Gun controllers don’t really care about reducing “gun violence.” They just want to eliminate gun ownership in the hands of the citizenry. Here’s another piece of evidence you can add to your mini-mountain of already existing evidence (archived links).
Senate Majority Leader @SenSchumer is negotiating with the NRA to pass his priority bill – the SAFE Act, a cannabis banking legislation – with Section 10 added as a sweetener for the NRA-backed Senate Republicans. We appreciate @SenJackReed working to modify the bill to ensure… pic.twitter.com/72xXr9MuKx
— Newtown Action Alliance (@NewtownAction) August 21, 2023
Ignoring the libelous dig by Newtown Action Alliance calling the NRA a “terrorist organization,” Section 10 of the SAFE Banking Act incorporates language to protect the firearms industry (among others), which have been the target of de-banking and de-platforming by gun controllers. Politico reported the following last month (archived links):
Schumer’s weed plan hits bipartisan resistance
A decade’s worth of bipartisan haggling over how to extend basic financial services to the marijuana industry is hitting roadblocks on both sides of the aisle.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said this week that cannabis banking legislation is a priority for the July work session. But behind the scenes, Republicans and Democrats are in a stalemate over the details, stalling a bill meant to help a cash-dependent industry routinely subject to robberies.
Republicans want Democrats to leave the text of the SAFE Banking Act alone — and avoid last-minute changes drafted by Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) to narrow the scope of regulatory language in the bill. […]
“Senator Daines and Chairman Brown had an agreement when he reintroduced the bill, and now Democrats are demanding changes” a spokesperson for Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) — the Republican spearheading negotiations on the bill with Schumer, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Brown and others — told POLITICO this week. “Democrats keep moving the goalposts.”
A major contention point is Section 10, which originally was the text of Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.)’s Financial Institution Customer Protection Act. That bill was introduced in response to the Obama-era initiative called Operation Choke Point — which GOP lawmakers said unfairly targeted businesses like gun retailers and payday lenders. It was added to SAFE in 2019 as a sweetener for Republican lawmakers. […]
That language has passed the House seven times as part of the SAFE Act, but this is the first time the Senate is giving the bill serious scrutiny. At a May hearing in the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Development Committee, Reed raised concerns about this section. He told POLITICO this week that the language of Section 10 is too broad and wants it narrowed to only address cannabis. Reed has warned that it would make it harder for regulators to warn banks about risky customers. […]
Two aides working on this bill — one Democrat and one Republican — both told POLITICO that Reed’s concerns are the main issue holding it up. The Republican aide, who is closely involved in deliberations about the legislation in the Senate, said that gutting section 10 would be a non-starter for Republicans. Two lobbyists working closely on the bill also told POLITICO they believe Republicans will walk if there are changes to section 10.
In case you missed it, there’s more than just banking to the SAFE Banking Act. As Cam wrote last December, the bill has other expungement and Second Amendment protections inspired by the late Rep. Don Young (R-AK)’s Gun Rights And Marijuana Act (GRAM) Act proposal.
All the good that this bill will do is unacceptable to gun controllers. Despite all their bleating about “gun violence,” they would rather that people get shot and killed during armed robberies at marijuana businesses than allow the firearms industry the same respect and protection afforded to other industries.