Senate Committee Chairman Pushes Back Against SAFE Banking Act

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, a Republican from Idaho, says he does not support the SAFE Banking Act because it fails to address issues such as high cannabis potencies and marketing strategies that target children.

Full story after the jump.

Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R) is seeking public feedback on a “way to address public health and money laundering concerns” related to cannabis banking as he pushed back against the SAFE Banking Act, which was approved by the House in September.

In a statement, Crapo said he does not support the banking reform measure because it “does not address the high level potency of marijuana, marketing tactics to children, lack of research on marijuana’s effects, and the need to prevent bad actors and cartels from using the banks to disguise ill-gotten cash to launder money into the financial system.”

Crapo said committee staff is seeking input regarding public health and safety concerns, including driving under the influence of cannabis; options to combat money laundering in the space; options addressing interstate commerce; and options for the hemp industry.

The chairman indicated he would like to see potency caps on THC products if companies want access to banking services, suggesting a 2 percent threshold on all products which would apply “until each state legislature affirmatively determines the appropriate level of THC potency for cannabis and cannabis products.” Crapo would shut out producers of high potency-THC and kid-friendly edibles from banking services.

Crapo also indicated he wanted the legislation to eliminate “Operation Choke Point,” an Obama-era rule in which federal agencies relied upon a list of politically disfavored merchant categories, such as firearm manufacturers and payday lenders, with the intent of “choking off” their access to payment systems and banking services.

Crapo said that policy forced banks to stop providing financial services “to members of lawful industries for no reason other than political pressure, which takes the guise of regulatory and enforcement scrutiny.”

Crapo added that he remains “firmly opposed” to cannabis legalization both federally and in his home state of Idaho.

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