A group of 35 organisations including both NGOs and trade associations representing millions of workers in the US have called on congress to enact the long-awaited SAFE Banking Act this year.
In a letter sent to congress, organised by StoptheDrugWar.org and The Cannabis Alliance, the group references the ‘surge’ in robberies in state-legal cannabis dispensaries, which are forced to hold significant reserves of cash due to their inability to deposit funds in a bank.
It cites figures which suggest nearly 100 robberies of these stores had taken place in Washington State alone between November 2021 and April 2022, with 40% of those seeing robbers target only the store’s cash, resulting in the loss of three lives.
The group, which includes the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), one of the first unions to work within the cannabis industry representing 1.3m workers, says it is ‘a moral imperative for congress to enact some version of the SAFE Banking Act this year’.
“SAFE Banking is not the first effort to address the cannabis sector’s dangerous overreliance on cash, and it may not be the last that is needed. But the safety issues faced by the cannabis sector won’t be solved without it.”
Caitlein Ryan, Executive Director of The Cannabis Alliance, said “Our member businesses in Washington State have suffered the worst in the nation to date from cannabis store robberies.
“We know from hard experience just how serious a problem cannabis cash can be for our community – we don’t want it to happen again here, and we don’t want what happened to us to happen anywhere else.”
Business of Cannabis: New York on November 3 will explore the current cannabis retail and licensing infrastructure in New York. Early Bird Tickets are available until midnight on September 8. Get yours here: www.cannabisnewyork.live.