A congressional hearing regarding different aspects of the cannabis industry and the plant’s legality is set to happen in the very near future. The new session is titled “Challenges and Solutions: Access to Banking Services for Cannabis-Related Businesses”, according to a report from Tom Angell in Forbes.
The hearing, which is scheduled for next Wednesday, February 13th, is to be held as a subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee. Representative Denny Heck (D-WA) stated what is obvious for anyone who understands how transactions occur in the legal cannabis market: that dispensaries and retail locations that must run cash-only business models present a number of dangers and risks.
“When we introduced this bill six years ago, we warned that forcing these businesses to deal in cash was threatening public safety. No hearing was given,” Heck said in an email, referring to cannabis industry banking legislation initiatives that he and and Representative Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) have been filing for the last few years.
Heck blamed Republicans for a hearing on the proposals not being scheduled. He brought up the fact that there have been break-ins, robberies and assaults due to the cash-only nature of cannabis businesses, adding how a security guard at a dispensary in Colorado was killed during a robbery. Heck said that the proposals he and his Democratic colleagues sponsored failed to leave committee because Republicans interfered with them.
Obviously, there will exist a potential risk for robberies at dispensaries regardless of how transactions are processed, but Heck is confident that the law he intends to sponsor will greatly reduce that risk.
“We have a bipartisan proposal to allow well-regulated marijuana businesses to handle their money in a way that is safe and effective for law enforcement to track. I am eager to get to the work of refining it and passing it into law,” Heck said.
The part where Heck says “is safe for law enforcement to track” could be concerning to cannabis advocates and business owners. We have seen time and time again that there is a clear disconnect between what the majority of American people want and statements made by some law enforcement agencies. If this proposed legislation is passed, will there be a reduction in break-ins and robberies at dispensaries? We will just have to wait and see, as legal cannabis transactions continue to be cash-only in the meantime.