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Cannabis banking bill stalls in the Senate

Cannabis Plant
A bill to allow cannabis business access to traditional banking services failed in Congress.

A bill to allow cannabis businesses access to traditional banking services failed in Congress this month.

The SAFE Banking Act would allow cannabis businesses to move beyond strictly cash-based transactions. The bill was co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. Steve Daines after Montanans voted to legalize recreational cannabis sales in 2020.

Pepper Petersen, head of the Montana Cannabis Industry Association, said marijuana businesses in the state continue to face challenges due to being locked out of traditional financing, including having to pay employees wages in cash.

"They can’t secure a bank account in order to do direct deposit for their employees," he said. "It’s extremely difficult to pay employees, and retain quality employees because it’s so difficult to pay them." 

Despite passing with bipartisan support through the House of Representatives, the bill was never taken up in the Senate.

While the bill appears to have failed during the current Congress, it could be reintroduced in the future.

In a statement, Daines said the failure to pass the SAFE banking act “means communities in Montana and across our country will remain vulnerable to crime where legal businesses are forced to operate in all-cash.”

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