Prominent Cannabis Financial Firm Revises Testimony on Banking Legislation, Advocates for Approval Amidst Stakeholder Discontent

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A cannabis financial services enterprise has revised its testimony concerning a congressional cannabis banking bill subsequent to encountering opposition for remarks delivered during a Senate committee hearing earlier this month. At the hearing, the company’s compliance officer had proposed a “halt” to further amend the legislation.

Advocates and stakeholders were surprised by Dama Financial’s proposal, perceiving it as counterproductive to the united front needed to propel the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act.

Shortly after the Senate Banking Committee session, Dama’s CEO, Patrick O’Boyle, expressed remorse that their testimony had not adequately underscored the bill’s merits and the pressing need for its approval. He pledged to collaborate with stakeholders to revise their input.

O’Boyle asserted, “We value your partnership and appreciate your understanding. Rest assured that we remain dedicated to serving your business and supporting your growth and success as well as the supporting the success of the cannabis industry.”

The ongoing federal prohibition has hindered the cannabis sector from accessing conventional financial services, compelling many businesses to operate predominantly with cash. This not only constitutes an inefficient business practice but also poses threats to public safety for businesses and communities.

O’Boyle expounded, “It is an unnecessary risk that welcomes theft, robberies, burglaries and unfortunately even deaths. By preventing federal agencies from taking action against entities that provide financial services to licensed operators and cannabis-related businesses, the SAFE Banking Act would cohesively bring federal and state law together.”

“The American people deserve a smart economic policy which illuminates liability for depository institutions offering financial services to legally licensed cannabis operators and cannabis-related businesses,” O’Boyle continued. He advocated for moving forward with the passage of the SAFE Banking Act, S. 1323, as a critical initial step toward enhancing the industry’s access to financial services and products.

The cannabis sector’s expansion in the U.S. market continues, accelerating as more states transition from medical-only to fully legalized status in a shorter timeframe. This juncture is not conducive to hampering the financial infrastructure essential to supporting this growth. Granting financial institutions the ability to collaborate with cannabis businesses and endorsing the SAFE Banking Act would not only reduce cash circulation on the streets but also promote sound economic policies that substantially contribute to the nation’s financial well-being.

Kim Rivers, CEO of the multi-state cannabis entity Trulieve, had reached out to Dama following the initial committee testimony, securing a commitment to rectify their stance. She expressed gratitude for the company’s follow-through, although some observers, like lobbyist Don Murphy of the Marijuana Leadership Campaign, opine that the in-person testimony had already inflicted “damage.”

Nonetheless, the forthcoming phase for the SAFE Banking Act entails committee markup, an endeavor Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) anticipates will occur “in the near future.” The strategy is to pass the standalone bill unadulterated out of committee and subsequently introduce amendments on the floor.

Schumer and colleagues underscored the importance of integrating “criminal justice” provisions, including expungements for individuals with prior marijuana convictions, into the legislation. Amendments may also address concerns highlighted by a Democratic senator, key federal officials, and consumer advocacy groups, who recently raised alarms about a provision that could inadvertently restrict regulators’ actions against those exploiting banking services.

Concurrently, a coalition of organizations sent a missive to committee leadership, urging the expansion of the bill’s financial safeguards to facilitate cannabis industry access to major U.S. stock exchanges. This plea has sparked debate among advocates, with some contending that such a move would be ill-timed while efforts to legalize marijuana in Congress remain stagnant.

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