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Majority of Americans Want Congress to Act on Cannabis Banking

Data from a March 8th national survey by Morning Consult and for the American Bankers Association shows that the overwhelming majority of Americans would like Congress to start reforming cannabis banking. 

Lack of banking access forces cannabis businesses to deal in cash—which has proven to be exceedingly reckless. In certain states, there is a risky pattern of robberies involving cannabis and money. 

According to the survey, most Americans feel satisfied with their bank accounts. But the survey also asked respondents about their thoughts on cannabis business accessing banks and whether this should be permitted. 

This survey surveyed consumers about cannabis banking. A strong majority of American adults—65 percent—support allowing cannabis businesses to access banking services such as checking accounts and business loans in states where cannabis is legal, while only 15 percent oppose. Furthermore, 68 percent of Americans said that Congress should pass legislation so that cannabis businesses can “access banking services and products in states” where it is legal.

Seven out of 10 Americans support Congress’s passage of legislation that permits cannabis companies to have access to checking accounts and loans. Many of the states have businesses that still trade in cash. 

“Consumers clearly agree that now is the time to resolve the ongoing conflict between state and federal law so banks can serve legal cannabis and cannabis-related businesses,” said Rob Nichols, ABA president and CEO. “Doing so will help banks meet the needs of their communities while enhancing public safety, increasing the efficiency of tax collections and improving the financial transparency of the cannabis industry.”

Leaders from NORML applauded the new batch of data, particularly for the survey’s inclusion of people’s views on cannabis businesses.

“Americans understand that no industry can operate safely, transparently or effectively without access to banks or other financial institutions and it is self-evident that this industry, and those consumers that are served by it, remain severely hampered without this access,” NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said, commenting on the polling data. “It is also clear that the status quo is actively hurting small businesses and creating unnecessary barriers to entry for entrepreneurs from those communities that have been disproportionately impacted by decades of cannabis prohibition. In order to truly bring the marijuana industry out of the shadows, actions need to be taken by Congress to repeal these outdated and discriminatory practices.”

Recent data from the U.S. Treasury Department shows that only around 11 percent of U.S. bank branches and four percent of U.S. credit-unions offer banking services for cannabis-related companies.

In early February, the House of Representatives passed the SAFE Banking Act as part of a separate bill—marking the sixth time the lower chamber of Congress has passed the legislation to grant cannabis businesses access to banking and other financial services.

The House approved provisions of the bank bill to amend legislation drafted by the U.S. to promote U.S. manufacturing, and increase competition with China, known as the America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence Technology and Economic Strength Act (America COMPETES Act) of 2022.

NORML referred to survey data compiled by Whitney Economics earlier this year. According to the survey, more than 70% of cannabis companies stated that they face difficulties accessing capital or banking services. Only 39 percent pointed to the impact of the black marketplace as the biggest obstacle facing cannabis businesses, while 42 percent thought state regulations were the largest.