Steve White, opinion contributor Published 7:30 a.m. MT July 27, 2020
Opinion: SAFE Banking would help track and account for money in the marijuana industry, as well as reduce businesses’ exposure to violent criminals.
In this June 27, 2017, file photo, the proprietor of a medical marijuana dispensary prepares his monthly tax payment, over $40,000 in cash, at his Los Angeles store. (Photo: AP FILE PHOTO)
State legalization of cannabis has posed many challenges to policymakers and law enforcement. In Arizona alone, nearly 250,000 patients were able to continue accessing their medications during the unprecedented pandemic crisis after medical dispensaries were deemed essential.
As attention turns to repairing the economic damage wrought by the virus, federal policymakers must focus on an issue vital to a state’s public health and safety.
The call for access to banking and financial services, currently out of reach to an industry responsible for 15,000 jobs in Arizona, and more than $4 million every month in transaction privilege taxes, is essential for the continued need to address the elimination of criminal enterprises which can penetrate an unregulated industry.
In this case, we are dealing with billions of dollars in untracked cash.
Arizona’s senators can help
Arizona is in a unique position in that both Sens. Martha McSally and Kyrsten Sinema are important voices on the United States Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. McSally and Sinema are well-positioned to champion an issue that has broad support among the electorate, the public and policymakers at every level of government.
By advocating for banking access, not only will there be a decrease in the criminal attraction to an all-cash business, thousands