Late last month, the Congressional Budget Office released its cost estimate for H.R. 1595, the SAFE Banking Act, to enable banks and credit unions to serve legitimate cannabis businesses in Oklahoma and 32 other states that have legalized the use of marijuana for either medical or recreational use.
According to the CBO, this bill, which is strongly supported by the OBA, would save the federal government $4 million over a 10-year period.
“Sixty-eight percent of the nation’s population today lives in those (33) states,” OBA President and CEO Roger Beverage said. “No matter how you cut it, that’s a significant number of people and it should result in a House majority approving this proposal.”
The OBA continues to ask the Oklahoma delegation in Congress to address the barriers to bringing the marijuana business into the light and out of the shadows.
“By their very nature, any business that operates on a ‘cash-only’ basis creates a public safety hazard and becomes a target for the bad guys,” Beverage said. “No one I know is saying this bill legalizes the use of marijuana. It doesn’t, and the Association has not taken a position on the subject. But this bill does decriminalize the process for bringing a legal product in Oklahoma into the marketplace where it can be better tracked for tax and other purposes.
“It’s not just direct retailers who will be protected by this bill. It will protect the overall process for commercializing sales of the product at all states – growth, transportation, possession. Most importantly, it eliminates the criminal risk that banks face for choosing to do business with anyone acting within the delivery system for marijuana.”
The Act is currently poised to be approved by the full House. An identical companion bill is awaiting action in the Senate.