ICBA Press Release Banner 2020

New Morning Consult polling shows voters see benefits to public safety, minority access

Washington, D.C. (Sept. 6, 2022) — Two-thirds of voters (65%) support allowing cannabis-related businesses to have access to banking services in states where cannabis is legal, the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) announced. The results indicate bipartisan public support for congressional passage of the SAFE Banking Act, bipartisan cannabis banking legislation that has passed the House of Representatives seven times but has not been taken up by the Senate.

According to a new ICBA poll conducted by Morning Consult, 71% of voters agree that allowing cannabis-related businesses to access the banking system would help reduce the risk of robbery and assault at cannabis-related businesses — showing the importance of the policy to public safety. Meanwhile, 55% said that with some cannabis-related businesses owned and led by people of color, women, and the LGBTQ community, allowing for cannabis banking would help these underserved communities — indicating how the policy would advance social equity.

“U.S. voters have made clear that current law inhibiting access to the banking system for cannabis-related businesses has a negative impact on local communities,” ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey said. “With a supermajority of U.S. voters voicing support for allowing cannabis-related businesses access to the banking system, the Senate should act now on bipartisan cannabis banking legislation that the House has passed seven times.”

ICBA’s polling also found:

  • More than 80% of voters say businesses that operate exclusively in cash have a higher risk of robbery or theft.
  • 62% agree that restricting cannabis-related businesses from accessing the banking system poses a threat to public safety.
  • 63% agree that allowing cannabis-related businesses to access the banking system will help improve public safety.
  • 58% say a Senate vote on establishing a cannabis banking safe harbor is important.

The bipartisan SAFE Banking Act would establish a safe harbor for financial institutions that serve cannabis-related businesses in states where cannabis is legal. The legislation is designed to address a conflict between state and federal law that presents legal uncertainty for community banks, inhibits access to the banking system for cannabis-related businesses, and creates public safety concerns by leaving these businesses no alternative than to rely on cash — disproportionately affecting businesses operated by underserved communities.

ICBA was the first national banking trade group to support the SAFE Banking Act and to testify before Congress on its behalf. The bill, which the Conference of State Banking Supervisors has endorsed, has more than 180 co-sponsors in the House and more than 40 in the Senate. ICBA calls on the Senate to pass the SAFE Banking Act at its earliest possible convenience.

About ICBA

The Independent Community Bankers of America® creates and promotes an environment where community banks flourish. ICBA is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education, and high-quality products and services.

With nearly 50,000 locations nationwide, community banks constitute roughly 99 percent of all banks, employ nearly 700,000 Americans and are the only physical banking presence in one in three U.S. counties. Holding nearly $5.9 trillion in assets, over $4.9 trillion in deposits, and more than $3.5 trillion in loans to consumers, small businesses and the agricultural community, community banks channel local deposits into the Main Streets and neighborhoods they serve, spurring job creation, fostering innovation and fueling their customers’ dreams in communities throughout America. For more information, visit ICBA’s website at www.icba.org.