Bill To Protect Banks That Work With The Cannabis Industry Gets A Vote In Congress Next Week

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The House Financial Services Committee will vote next Tuesday on a bipartisan bill that would protect banks that service businesses in the cannabis industry from being penalized by federal regulators.

More than a quarter of the House is in support of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act. The bill was formally filed earlier this month. Its chief sponsors are Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), Denny Heck (D-Wash.), Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), and Warren Davidson (R-Ohio). There are 138 cosponsors of the bill, according to the Marijuana Moment.

In an emailed statement to the Marijuana Moment, Perlmutter said: “For six years, Congress has failed to act on the issue of cannabis banking, putting thousands of employees, businesses and communities at risk, However, the issue is finally receiving the attention it deserves with the first-ever congressional hearing and now a scheduled committee vote.”

House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) is also in favor of the bill, which also has the backing of House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and House Rules Committee Chair Jim McGovern (D-Mass.).

The strong support in a Democratic majority House is in stark contrast to the last Congress in which Republican leadership repeatedly shot down cannabis-related legislation.

The SAFE bill provides protections for businesses that directly sell marijuana or marijuana products, as well as ancillary cannabis businesses. It states that proceeds from “a transaction conducted by a cannabis-related legitimate business” will not be considered proceeds from an illegal activity simply because the money was made by a “cannabis-related legitimate business.”

The bill also asks the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council to implement “uniform guidance and examination procedures for depository institutions that provide financial services to cannabis-related legitimate businesses.”

“With 97.7 percent of the U.S. population living in a state where voters have legalized some form of adult recreational, medical or limited-medical use of marijuana, congressional inaction is no longer an option,” Perlmutter said. “And with broad, bipartisan support in the House, I look forward to the SAFE Banking Act continuing to move forward in the Financial Services Committee and on the floor of the House.”