There's been a lot of headlines lately about what's called the SAFE Banking Act, especially after several widely publicized pot store robberies in WA, one of which resulted in a fatal shooting.

WA Congressional Democrats are pushing for passage of SAFE Act

Two recent pot store robberies in Covington and Tacoma have resulted in a store worker and a suspect being fatally shot. According to USA Today, there were 29 pot store robberies in WA in 2019, 35 in 2021, but 65 so far in 2022.

Legislators claim passage of the SAFE Act would protect these stores better. What's being ignored is that pot store robberies, along with overall crime in WA, have skyrocketed after Inslee urged majority Democrats to push through his 'police reform' package in 2021--but that's for another discussion.

  Banks and Credit Unions CAN Take pot money, but...

  • Marijuana remains banned at the Federal Level
  • Banks who handle marijuana money can be charged with money laundering.
  • Much of the traditional financial industry still has a very dim view of 'pot business', many institutions view it the same as taking 'drug money' from a cartel.

Banks can risk losing their charter by taking pot business, according to findlaw.com:

"There is a loophole that a small number of banks have chosen to use, but it requires the banks to file "suspicious activity" reports for every transaction made by marijuana-related businesses. Most financial institutions have decided that the risk and hassle are not worth it, and they are "just saying no" to the marijuana industry." 

Credit Unions face the same challenges but some do it anyway

In WA state Numerica was the first credit union to accept what's called cannabusinesses. They now have a portfolio of about 300 cannibusiness account holders. Salal Credit Union in Seattle also has begun to accept pot business.

Federally insured credit unions also run similar risks, Numerica set up a compliance team to ensure that all such business is strictly monitored and regulated within their company.

But unless you can utilize one of these two CU's most pot stores deal strictly in cash, and officials claim it makes them tempting targets for robbers.

 SAFE Act would allow banks to handle pot money without being punished

The SAFE Act has been pushed through the Congressional House several times but has stalled in the Senate. WA Democratic Congressional leaders are again pushing for its passage. It would remove these money laundering and other penalties for taking pot money.

However, if you note the rise in pot store robberies in conjunction with the 'police reform' package, it doesn't take a scientist to realize WA leaders are ignoring the other reason(s) why pot stores have become such prime targets.

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Regardless of your opinion on recreational pot and the SAFE Act, our overall rise in crime is responsible for much of this issue.

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