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Cannabis banking is a reality. So do banks still need the SAFE Banking bill?

American Banker

As the Senate stands poised to hold its first markup of the Secure and Fair Enforcement Act, or SAFE Banking Act — a bill that allows banks and payments companies to do business with cannabis companies in states where the substance is legal — some experts say that in the decade since state-level recreational legalization has taken root, banks have adapted to serve the industry just fine.

Tyler Beuerlein, chief strategic business development officer at Safe Harbor Financial — a firm that assists cannabis businesses find banking solutions — says there is a decreasing need for such legislation as cannabis businesses already have a relatively wide array of options at their disposal for accessing bank-like services.

“There are hundreds of [banking] options depending on operator type, location and size and we provide banking services to the industry in all state legal markets [meaning] finding a transparent banking option is no longer the ‘heavy lift’ it has been in the past,” he wrote in an email. “There are a few of what I would call regtech and/or fintech companies [like Safe Harbor] who service the sector in partnership with banks and credit unions.”

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