Author: Benjamin Dreiker
June, 11, 2020
In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a $3-trillion stimulus bill referred to as The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (or the “HEROES” Act). The bill would provide a second economic stimulus package to small businesses, individuals, and even assist cannabis businesses. Included in the bill was language from the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (or “SAFE Banking” Act). This provision would ultimately increase public safety by allowing legitimate cannabis-related businesses and service providers access to financial services to reduce the amount of cash at such businesses while preventing any federal banking regulator from intervening or punishing those banks.
Currently, there are no other federal relief efforts that extend to cannabis businesses, and as almost every state with legalized programs has considered cannabis businesses an essential service, they have not been able to receive the proper support during the pandemic due to federal restrictions.
According to an article published by Forbes, the HEROES Act has not passed through the U.S. Senate. Unfortunately, the reality is the HEROES Act may not be able to pass the Senate anytime soon. According to an article published by the CannabisWire Daily, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has voiced strong disapproval in the House’s approach to the Coronavirus relief bill and the inclusion of cannabis banking legislation. The Senate agenda has focused on other issues such as the Department of Defense and the appointment of conservative judges. Senator McConnell and other Republican Senators may delay the new bill until after the Senators return from a two-week recess at the beginning of July. So, the bill might not even be considered until the end of July.
In my opinion, I would fully support the HEROES Act. Not only would it provide economic relief to hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens, but it would also help cannabis businesses during an unprecedented time in history. The United States is seeing a sweeping surge of support for marijuana legalization among many states, both Republican and Democrat. If Senate leadership can support the 2018 Farm Bill, which allows farmers across the United States to legally cultivate hemp, a by-product of the cannabis plant, then they should be able to support cannabis banking for legitimate businesses.
If you would like to support the HEROES Act please contact your Senator, and have them voice your support.
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