City leaders lobby Congress to relax pot shop banking laws amid recent spate of armed robberies

Apr 27, 2022, 3:25 PM
(Flickr Creative Commons)
(Flickr Creative Commons)

Pot shops across Washington continue to suffer from the ever-growing trend of armed robberies, caused by the fact that, as per federal law, they can only use cash. In 2022 alone, there have been three murders and 80 robberies in Washington state.

Tuesday, Seattle city leaders called on Congress to pass the SAFE Banking Act, a bill that would allow cannabis businesses to access traditional banking services.

“Every small business deserves security and stability and every employee deserves to be safe at their place of work. Congress must act with urgency to pass the SAFE Banking Act and give retail cannabis stores commonsense access to financial tools to help keep their workers, customers, and businesses safe,” wrote Mayor Bruce Harrell in a news release.

With cannabis stores currently not allowing credit payments, the State Liquor and Cannabis Board is encouraging cashless phone apps for customers’ pot payments instead.

Thieves use front loader to break into South Seattle dispensary

Scott DeKay owns Savage THC in Clayton. He tells KIRO Newsradio’s Gee and Ursula that he does not feel safe using the apps recommended by the State Liquor and Cannabis Board because they are smaller, less-well-known companies. He is afraid that they might get in trouble for finding a loophole to get around the federal government’s rules.

He says he does not have the funds for a full-time armed security guard, and his estimate is that at least half of pot shops are in the same boat. Instead, he enterprises other security measures to dissuade potential criminals and plans to defend his store if he is robbed. They have put up a chain-link fence, bulletproof glass, and even have dogs on the property in the hopes of intimidating would-be robbers.

DeKay says the only solution is to be able to use banks and cards like every other type of retail business in the state. He would love to see a kind of ‘Bank of Washington’ that would allow businesses to not have to cross state lines when it comes to banking.

KIRO Newsradio has reached out to two of the suggested apps, Aeropay and CanPay, for an interview.

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Gee and Ursula Show

Gee and Ursula

downtown Seattle...
Bill Kaczaraba

Big ideas for the city from the head of the Downtown Seattle Association

Jon Scholes, President and CEO of the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA), has some big ideas on how to bring downtown back to its former glory.
4 days ago
airline fees...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Gee & Ursula: What about those airline fees?

What about those airline fees? More are coming. KIRO Newsradio's Gee & Ursula have different takes on the subject.
5 days ago
Kent Mayor Dana Ralph...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Kent Mayor: ‘Our police department is fully staffed,’ but needs more officers

Kent Mayor Dana Ralph says its police department is fully staffed in budgeted positions but needs more officers.
7 days ago
money buy happiness...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Gee and Ursula debate whether money really does buy happiness

According to research from two Nobel Prize-winning economists from Princeton University, their study concluded $500,000 can indeed boost happiness.
11 days ago
pet sales...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Gee & Ursula: Are there really ‘pet parents’ or are they ‘pet owners’?

Ursula Reutin and guest host Mike Lewis argued about people who claim to be "pet parents" and whether it's appropriate or not.
13 days ago
Lakewood ATM...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Ursula: ‘That’s just nuts!’ regarding lack of pursuit of truck dragging ATM

An ATM was ripped out of a Lakewood credit union Friday morning. As a truck was dragging it down the street, police could not pursue.
17 days ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
City leaders lobby Congress to relax pot shop banking laws amid recent spate of armed robberies