Michigan Chamber Of Commerce urges Congress: Pass Marijuana Banking Bill

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Michigan’s Chamber of Commerce has called on Congress to pass the Secure and Fare Enforcement Regulation (SAFER) Banking Act, citing a string of recent break-ins at legal marijuana retailers in the state. The chamber says that federal cannabis banking reform is needed to reduce the risks of theft and fraud associated with the industry’s reliance on cash transactions. The legislation would protect banks that work with state-legal cannabis businesses, which are currently illegal under federal law, from penalties.

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Michigan-based marijuana company Common Citizen to push for the passage of the SAFER Banking Act. The CEO of Common Citizen, Michael Elias, highlighted the vulnerability of entrepreneurs and investors in the predominantly cash-only cannabis industry. He stated that entrepreneurs investing millions and employing thousands of staff are particularly susceptible to theft and that the passage of the bill would help protect their hard work and investment.

Last year, legal marijuana sales in Michigan exceeded $3 billion. The state’s cannabis market continues to grow, with record-breaking sales in December 2023. However, many cannabis business owners are still unable to access typical loans and lines of credit due to the industry’s banking restrictions. This limitation can impact their ability to expand, hire employees, and support their local communities.

At a federal level, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has expressed a commitment to the passage of the SAFER Banking Act. However, he acknowledges that its passage will not be easy. Michigan has made progress in its legal cannabis landscape, including ending pre-employment marijuana testing for most government employees. The state has also signed bills into law enabling state-licensed marijuana businesses to trade with tribal cannabis entities.

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