WASHINGTON, D.C., June 2, 20211 – PRESS RELEASE – Advocacy organizations Marijuana Matters, Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA), Minorities for Medical Marijuana (M4MM) and Women Grow to launch #SAFE4Equity, a campaign to inform cannabis operators, industry stakeholders, congressional leaders, and the general public about the crucial need for the Secure and Fair Enforcement Act (SAFE Banking Act). SAFE Banking is included in the House-passed version of the America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength Act of 2022 (COMPETES Act). #SAFE4Equity supports the inclusion of the SAFE Act in the final package currently being negotiated by the Senate to provide relief for small minority-owned cannabis businesses.
The campaign kicks off on June 2, 2022, with the re-launch of safe4equity.org website and the SAFE4Equity social media channels that will provide timely information relating to the SAFE Act, updates on its movement through the Senate, as well as testimonials from minority cannabis entrepreneurs currently impaired by the limited access to banking services.
The campaign’s mission is to bring light to the fact that equitable access to capital and banking services is critical on the path to social and economic justice through cannabis reform. Without it, small, minority- and women-owned cannabis businesses fail to have the resources necessary to operate safely and effectively but moreover compete at a higher scale to run their enterprises. The SAFE Act is the essential piece of legislation that will begin to alleviate the burdens many of these smaller operators face and offer a solution to support their business growth.
SAFE Banking Act lead sponsor, Congressman Ed Perlmutter, has been a staunch advocate for equitable cannabis banking and has worked to pass the bill in the U.S. House of Representatives six times while continuing to garner bipartisan support. Perlmutter joins #SAFE4Equity in the call for the Senate to pass the SAFE Banking Act this year either through the America COMPETES conference committee negotiations or as a standalone bill.
“I appreciate SAFE4Equity’s support of the SAFE Banking Act and their ongoing advocacy for federal cannabis reform. SAFE Banking is only one piece of the puzzle, but it is a critical piece of reform that underserved communities and small businesses need now,” Perlmutter said. “It is imperative that the conference committee solve this problem as soon as possible to begin to alleviate the threat of public safety and inequity which threatens communities and emerging small businesses across the country.”
In addition to providing critical information on the SAFE Banking Act, the #SAFE4Equity campaign will be used as a vehicle to address one of the core barriers to entry for minority cannabis operators–funding. The campaign will feature real-time stories from cannabis entrepreneurs navigating predatory agreements and financial lending practices resulting from the regulatory banking barriers.
“Passing the SAFE Banking Act would help address this core issue affecting countless small and minority owned cannabis operators throughout the country,” said Amber Littlejohn, executive director of MCBA. “By extending a safe harbor to banks, credit unions, certain payment processors, and other select financial entities to offer essential services such as loans, deposit accounts, check cashing, and electronic payments to state lawful cannabis companies, we are creating a sustainable future for small cannabis businesses and stopping the unjust criminalization of cannabis.”
“Advocates have been fighting for years for sensible cannabis reform. The opportunity to pass legislation around safe and equal banking for all in the regulated cannabis industry would be a huge step in the right direction,” said Roz McCarthy, chief executive officer of Minorities for Medical Marijuana.
“As states continue to legalize, our small, women- and minority-owned entrepreneurs’ banking challenges become greater” said Gia Morón, president of Women Grow. “We want to see an industry where these entrepreneurs can thrive, but in order for them to do so, they must have banking resources. SAFE Banking will provide the necessary access and secure banking services our business owners need to operate sound businesses.”
“SAFE Banking will not repair all of the harms from the war on drugs”, said Courtney Davis, executive director of Marijuana Matters, “but it is one of the many tools that are essential to supporting individuals from historically disadvantaged communities in becoming successful entrepreneurs in the burgeoning cannabis space. Our cannabis laws are in desperate need of reform, and we have an opportunity in Congress to pass a bill that will provide safe access to banking for minority and women entrepreneurs.”