A hot question among U.S.-based retail IT VARs and ISVs is, “When will federal laws change to enable cannabis dispensaries to accept credit cards – and allow me to start receiving residual income from those installations?” Experts say the best hope for that is the SAFE Banking Act which has passed in the House of Representatives but has not been enacted into law by the Senate. The SAFE (Secure and Fair Enforcement) Banking Act is designed to protect banks that serve legal cannabis-related businesses.
The SAFE Act was a topic of two recent RSPA Cannabis Community meetings, including one where featured guest JM Pedini, an executive with NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), shared insights related to pending state and federal legislation. Among the comments from those meetings were:
- Cannabis will not be legalized this Congress. We would like to see passage of the SAFE Banking Act which succeeded in the House. There were attempts to move its language into COVID relief packages, but that language has been picked out. It would be great if that bill could get a hearing in the Senate. Right now it seems there’s too slim a Democratic majority in the Senate to get any cannabis bill past the filibuster.
- The bill has broad bipartisan support. It’s the first bill with a real opportunity to succeed – passage would normalize cannabis commerce because it would be the federal government’s first validation of the cannabis industry as a whole. The cannabis industry employs 320,000+ people in the U.S. while coal employs only 22,000.
- A new bill in the House (the States Reform Act) was just introduced by a Republican, Nancy Mace of South Carolina. It has bipartisan support.
- Any cannabis bill faces an uphill battle. Perhaps in the next congress we will see meaningful actions.
- Would SAFE solve cross-border issues? SAFE is a good first step, but it is not the end-all be-all. It does not fix federal prohibition. Passage of one law doesn’t fix everything. It seems like we will have to do piecemeal legislation to end federal prohibition.
- Passage of SAFE would give emotional comfort to legislators and get them ready to take the next step.
Did You Know …
The RSPA Cannabis Community has grown to over 190 members ranging from Fortune 500 organizations to SMB VARs and software developers.
To join or sponsor the RSPA Cannabis Community, email Membership@GoRSPA.org.