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A new poll from the American Bankers Association (ABA) shows that roughly three out of five Americans support allowing marijuana industry access to the banking system—a finding that comes amid a renewed push for reform among congressional leaders.

On Thursday, ABA released the survey that found 63 percent of Americans back cannabis businesses banking access, compared to just 17 percent who are opposed.

“Americans have made it clear that Congress should resolve the ongoing conflict between state and federal law on cannabis banking issues by passing legislation that will enhance public safety, tax collection and transparency,” ABA President Rob Nichols said in a press release.

The association has commissioned several polls looking at the issue in recent years. Compared to last year, this latest data shows a significant uptick in support for legislation such as the Secure and Fair Enforcement Regulation (SAFER) Banking Act that would protect financial institutions that service state-licensed cannabis businesses from being penalized by federal regulators.

ABA asked respondents two similar questions for this new survey, both showing 63 percent overall support for cannabis banking reform:

“Do you support or oppose allowing cannabis businesses to access traditional banking services, like a checking account or business loan, in states where cannabis is now legal?”

  • Strongly support: 37%
  • Somewhat support: 26%
  • Somewhat oppose: 9%
  • Strongly oppose: 9%
  • Don’t know/no opinion: 19%

“Do you support or oppose Congress passing legislation that allows cannabis businesses to have access to banking services and financial products (like checking accounts and business loans) in states where cannabis is legal?”

  • Strongly support: 36%
  • Somewhat support: 27%
  • Somewhat oppose: 8%
  • Strongly oppose: 9%
  • Don’t know/no opinion: 20%

A prior ABA survey, in 2022, found 66 percent of people either strongly (37 percent) or somewhat (29 percent) supported marijuana banking reform, while 16 percent either strongly (8 percent) or somewhat (8 percent) opposed it. Nineteen percent of respondents last year said they didn’t know or didn’t have an opinion.

A separate ABA poll earlier in 2022 found that 68 percent of respondents felt Capitol Hill should act.

This latest survey is being released amid growing pressure on Congress to act on the SAFER Banking Act, which cleared the Senate Banking Committee last September, now that lawmakers are finalizing appropriations legislation for the current fiscal year.

On Friday, for example, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) asked people to show their support for the marijuana banking bill by signing an online petition.

Schumer told Marijuana Moment earlier this month that the bill remains a “very high priority” for the Senate, and members are having “very productive” bicameral talks to reach a final agreement.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-OH) also said on Thursday that passing the SAFER Banking Act off the floor is a “high priority.” However, he also recently said in a separate interview that advancing the legislation is complicated by current House dynamics.

House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN) separately said during an ABA summit on Tuesday that he wants to see the SAFER Banking Act move.

He said that, “for whatever reason, the federal government has been slow” to act on the incremental reform that he supports even though he doesn’t identify as “a marijuana guy.”

One key factor that’s kept the bill from the Senate floor is disagreement over mostly non-cannabis provisions dealing with broader banking regulations, primarily those contained in Section 10 of the legislation.

Bicameral negotiations have been ongoing, however, and recent reporting suggests that a final deal could be just over the horizon.

The Democratic Senate sponsor of the SAFER Banking Act, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), told Marijuana Moment this month that the legislation is “gaining momentum” as lawmakers work to bring it to the floor and pass it “this year.”

The office of the Republican SAFER Banking prime sponsor, Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), separately told Marijuana Moment that “conversations have been productive and Senator Daines is working to get the bill across the finish line.”

At the close of the first half of the 118th Congress in December, Schumer said in a floor speech that lawmakers would “hit the ground running” in 2024, aiming to build on bipartisan progress on several key issues, including marijuana banking reform—though he noted it “won’t be easy.”

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) signed on as a cosponsor of the SAFER Banking Act this month, becoming the 36th member of the chamber to add their name to the legislation in addition to its lead sponsor.

If the SAFER Banking Act does make it to the Senate floor this year, it’s expected to be amended. For example, Schumer has discussed the “moral responsibility” of further amending it to add provisions on state-legal cannabis expungements and gun rights for cannabis consumers.

Separately, the original sponsor of the first cannabis banking reform bill, former Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), spoke with Marijuana Moment last month about his work with a national marijuana group lobbying on the legislation. He said he remains “hopeful” that there’s enough time and momentum to enact the measure this year.


Kyle Jaeger via (https://www.marijuanamoment.net/three-in-five-americans-want-congress-to-pass-marijuana-banking-reform-american-bankers-associations-poll-finds-amid-renewed-push/)

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