GREAT FALLS — Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter says he supports federal legislation to allow banks to handle money from marijuana businesses.
The Secure And Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 2021 (SAFE Act) would prevent federal regulators from taking action against banks if they work with legal marijuana businesses.It would also allow banks to keep the right to refuse to work with businesses. Both of Montana’s U.S. Senators are among the bill’s 27 co-sponsors.
Recreational marijuana use was approved by Montana voters in November 2020 and sales could start as early as January 1, 2022.
"It's not just recreational marijuana businesses that can't bank. It's their employees and even contractors who do work for the recreational marijuana companies,” Slaughter said. "The big risk here is, it creates a cash-only business. Cash-only businesses are extremely dangerous. They lead to theft, they lead to robbery and we're seeing it across other states.”
As of Thursday, the bill had passed the House and had been referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.