The SAFER Banking Act is advancing in the Senate. If passed, it could give registered cannabis businesses access to small business loans and financial protections. This development comes as New York’s Office of Cannabis Management expects to issue up to 1,500 new licenses for cultivators to sell their own cannabis out of farm stands or small stores. 

Esta Bigler is the Co-Chair of the Cannabis Workforce Initiative and Director of Cornell’s ILRLabor and Employment Law Program.

Bigler says:

The SAFER Act will benefit the entire industry and will be very helpful to the small businesses and social equity licensees in New York State that that have been disproportionately disadvantaged by mass incarceration and the COVID-19 pandemic. The Small Business Administration and banks will now be able to provide loans to small businesses to develop generational wealth in communities hurt by the war on drugs.

“Ability of the legal cannabis industry to function like other businesses, visa vis the banking industry will support the industry against legacy dealers and pop-up stores who don’t test the product to ensure it is safe. As the legal sector grows, it will decrease the nonregulated sector and consumers will get a better and safer product.”