Earlier this year we blogged about why you can’t buy cannabis with a credit card in Massachusetts. Simply put, because cannabis is still a Class 1 controlled substance in the eyes of the federal government, big banks can’t extend credit to dispensaries like ours without putting themselves at risk for criminal prosecution for “aiding and abetting”.
Believe us when we tell you that we’re every bit as frustrated about this as you are. At Revolutionary Clinics, we got into the cannabis business to help people and improve the quality of their lives. Imposing restrictions on how our patients pay for our products is nothing we’d ever choose to do. In that same blog post, we also shared some encouraging news about a bill that would address the banking issue and pave the way for the change we’ve been waiting for. That bill is called the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act or SAFE.
We’re thrilled to report that in late September, the SAFE Banking Act was unanimously passed in Congress by an overwhelming margin of 321 in favor to 103 against.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is, the SAFE Banking Act still has to be approved by the Senate. While there is a great deal of bi-partisan support for the passage of this bill, it is now at the mercy of the divisive political climate in Washington. Roughly translated, despite the fact that millions of Americans want cannabis to be 100% legal and the fact that Congress approved the SAFE Banking Act, there’s no guarantee it will pass in the Senate.
How can we swing the odds in our favor?
That’s where action is needed from the entire cannabis community. The old adage about the squeaky wheel getting the most grease is especially true in this case. We need as many patients, dispensaries, medical practitioners, advocacy groups, congress members and senators as possible to voice their support for The SAFE Banking Act.
There are several ways you can do this which we’ve laid out in order of the time and effort required on your part. If being able to pay for your cannabis with a credit card like you would any other medicine or dietary supplement is important to you, PLEASE take a few minutes to take at least one of the actions below. You’ll not only feel a sense of accomplishment that you’ve engaged in the democratic process, you’ll be making a very real contribution to the future of cannabis accessibility and acceptance.
Complete the simple form at NORML’s (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) and send an auto-populated form letter to your two state senators: 5 minutes or less
It doesn’t get much easier than this. CLICK HERE to fill out the form with your name, address and phone number. Click the green “START WRITING” button and the letter below will automatically pop up in a new window:
I urge you to support the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (SAFE Banking Act), HR 1595 / S. 1200, to allow state-licensed marijuana-related businesses to engage freely in relationships with banks and other financial institutions.
Presently, more than 30 states authorize the licensed production and dispensing of medical cannabis. Ten states permit similar commercial activities and retail sales of marijuana to all adults. Yet, thousands of these licensed and regulated businesses do not have access to the banking industry and are unable to accept credit cards, deposit revenues, or write checks to meet payroll or pay taxes. This situation is untenable. No industry can operate safely, transparently, or effectively without access to banks or other financial institutions.
Congress must move to change federal policy so that these growing number of state-compliant businesses, and their consumers, may operate in a manner that is similar to other legal commercial entities.
Allowing tightly regulated marijuana businesses the ability to access the banking system will help reduce the threat of crime, robbery, and assault in our communities and keep the cash out of cartels. I urge you to support and cosponsor The SAFE Banking Act.
Hit send and the letter will automatically go to Senator Markey and Senator Warren – no copying and pasting and no emailing required. If you’d like to write your own letter, just highlight all the text, hit the delete button and make your own case.
Send the link to the form you just filled out to your friends! 5 minutes or less
This is important whether your friends live in Massachusetts or not. Once they put in their address, NORML’s system will automatically send the form letter to your friends’ Senators. This is a nationwide issue so we need all the support we can get! To make it as easy as possible, we’ve even written a letter for you to copy and paste to your friends:
As you know, cannabis has made me a happier, healthier person. The only problem is that due to federal banking laws, the only way I can legally pay for my medical marijuana is with cash or my debit card. The Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (SAFE Banking Act) would make it possible for my local dispensaries and dispensaries all over the country to accept credit cards from patients like me.
I’ve already filled out the simple form at the link below and sent a letter to my state Senators. I’d really appreciate it if you would do the same. It takes less than five minutes and will be a huge help to me!
Follow up with Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Ed Markey (15 minutes or less)
Persistence is an essential part of the political process and the SAFE Banking Act is no exception. As important as it is for many different people to voice their support for this bill, it’s even more important for our senators to hear the message as often as possible. Share your own experiences about how cannabis has helped you and being able to pay for it with your credit card will help you even more. The more personal you can make your appeal, the better!
CLICK HERE to email Senator Markey
CLICK HERE to email Senator Warren
Email or call members of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee! 30 minutes or less
After you’ve contacted your state senators, it’s worth reaching out to the senators who are members of an influential committee that will be sharing its thoughts on the SAFE Banking Act when it comes around for vote. Republican Senator Mike Chapo from Idaho is the Chairman of this committee and Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown is the Ranking Member. There are 25 other members of the committee whose names you can find by CLICKING HERE and scrolling to the bottom of the page. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can Google their names for their email addresses and copy and paste your message to each senator. You can also call (202) 224-7391 and leave a message.
With your help, we can make paying for cannabis as convenient as buying any other item you need to live your best life. If you have questions about anything you’ve read in this blog post or want to get even more involved in cannabis advocacy, drop us a line using the form on our website! We hope to hear from you soon!