What Montana Law Enforcement is Saying About Daines’ Bipartisan SAFE Banking Act

U.S. SENATE – This week, several Montana sheriffs voiced their support for Senator Daines’ bipartisan “SAFE Banking Act” to promote public safety.

“Regardless of how you feel about recreational marijuana, the people of Montana have spoken. Recreational marijuana is legal in our state. It’s our responsibility to make sure we have a safe way for businesses to conduct their business. Every time that I’ve seen a cash-only business exist in any community, there’s a huge element of organized crime that comes with that. Senator Daines is taking a very responsible and logical step to ensure public safety is key. What he’s doing is looking out for the citizens, but also looking out for me and my ability to protect the public as well.” – Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter

“As a law enforcement officer in Montana for over three decades, I am philosophically opposed to the legalization of marijuana. Regardless, marijuana is now legal in our state, and we all need to do what we can to see that legal marijuana businesses can be operated in a safe manner. One of my main concerns when marijuana was legalized, was the fact that operators do not have access to the normal banking system to secure the proceeds from their operations. To me this meant very real increases in burglaries, thefts and robberies from these businesses due to the cash that criminals might believe to be stored on premises. Senator Daines’ Safe Banking Act will provide safe and secure bank access for the deposits of legally obtained proceeds from marijuana sales, potentially lowering the risk of these types of crimes in our communities. This in turn will reduce the amount of risk to our Montana citizens and law enforcement officers as well.” – Yellowstone County Sheriff Mike Linder

“As the Sheriff of Missoula County, I value our legislative process and stand ready to uphold the laws and statutes of the State of Montana. The voters of our great state have chosen to legalize the use of Marijuana. As with any legal entity doing business in the county of Missoula, I will ensure their right to operate safely. The Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (SAFE Banking Act) allows those legally operating in the State of Montana to do business safely. Operating in a strictly cash environment invites a higher risk for theft, robberies, and organized crime. This in turn creates a public safety risk and a risk to our deputies and surrounding law enforcement partners…I fully support the Safe Banking Act and Senator Daines’ efforts to pass this bill. This will lower the risk to those individuals and businesses operating in a cash only environment, which in turn creates a safer environment for our community members and law enforcement officials.” – Missoula County Sheriff TJ McDermott

“As sheriff it concerns me that businesses have such a large amount of cash on hand, which is clearly a liability and a public safety issue. I also believe that any all-cash business is going to be ripe for fraud, so it’s an accounting problem as I see it too. As far as marijuana legalization goes, the voters of Montana made that decision and now it’s our role to make it safe and make it work. I’m happy to support the SAFE Banking Act.” – Lincoln County Sheriff Darren Short

“If we are going to allow the sale and use of Marijuana, it only makes sense to allow the Marijuana businesses to use standard banking practices. If businesses can secure the cash they take in, the motive for robberies, burglaries, and other crime related to these businesses is reduced.  The Safe Banking Act should make the business owners, customers, and our communities safer.” – Butte-Silver Bow Sheriff Ed Lester

“While I have not read the entire language of the proposed bill, I agree that its passage will increase the safety of the legal businesses who are operating on a cash only basis. In the example of legal marijuana businesses, I am concerned that having large amounts of cash on hand will increase the risk of violent crimes directed toward the businesses and their employees. The passage of the SAFE Banking act would allow legal marijuana businesses to conduct transactions with a federally insured financial institution and reduce the risk of crimes these businesses are currently experiencing. I support Senator Daines efforts to pass the SAFE Banking Act.” – Powell County Sheriff Gavin Roselles

“Thank you for your efforts regarding the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act.  With the legalization of marijuana cultivation, sale, and possession in Montana, we have created a dangerous situation involving legal but cash only businesses.  The dispensaries in Ravalli County are in the position of holding large amounts of cash which increases the risk of robberies, burglaries, and thefts by sometimes violent criminals.  The opportunity to target these legal businesses and their employees threatens public safety.  Importantly, the apprehension of the suspects creates a further risk for our law enforcement officers. As Ravalli County Sheriff, I whole heartedly support the SAFE Banking Act and your efforts to pass legislation that will make our Montana communities safer.” – Ravalli County Sheriff Steve Holton

“While I am opposed to the legalization of recreational marijuana use, it is now here and we need to deal with it the best we can. Senator Daines’ SAFE Banking Act would help reduce the inevitable criminal activity that comes with these cash-only businesses.” – Carbon County Sheriff Josh McQuillan

“Like most law enforcement officers throughout Montana, I am against the legalization of recreational marijuana use. However, it is now here in Rosebud County after Montanans voted overwhelmingly in its favor, and we’ve got to address the public safety concerns that these all-cash businesses present. By allowing these legally operating businesses to access the banking system, we expect to see less burglaries and violent crime within these facilities.” – Rosebud County Sheriff Allen Fulton

 Contact: Rachel Dumke,  Blake Kernen