Support Grows For SAFE Banking Act

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Cannabis and cash SAFE Banking
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SAFE Banking Act may be taken up by GOP-led House of Representatives in 2023
American Express, Citizens registered to lobby for Safe Banking cannabis measure

American Express Co. and Citizens Financial Group Inc. both lobbied in favor of the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (SAFE Banking) in recent months, Cannabis Wire reported this week.

American Express and Citizens Financial were actively supporting the passage of the SAFE Banking measure as lawmakers pushed unsuccessfully to get it approved during the Lame Duck session late last year, the article said, citing public filings on lobbying activities.

Neither company commented, the report said.

The SAFE Banking measure to open up the U.S. financial system to legal cannabis is intended to reduce the amount of cash needed for transactions in the industry as a way to make workplaces more secure from a rash of robberies.

The measure has already drawn support from the American Bankers Association and other entities in the financial services sector, but it failed to reach a vote in the U.S. Senate despite a late-year push after minority leader Mitch McConnell spoke out against the measure.

American Express and Citizens Financial both listed HR 1996, the legislative name for The SAFE Banking Act in their lobbying disclosures, according to the report by Cannabis Wire.

American Express marks the sole credit card company to lobby specifically for HR 1996, although Mastercard Inc. lobbied in favor of past versions of the measure up until 2020, along with Wells Fargo & Co. and Citigroup Inc. up until 2019 and Travelers Cos. Inc. the report said.

The SAFE Banking measure has been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives several times but it has yet to be OK’d by the Senate.

It’s expected that the measure may be taken up again in 2023 by the Republican-controlled House, but it may remain short of the 60 votes needed to move the bill forward in the Senate.