The U.S. House of Representatives last week passed legislation that would allow banks to provide services to cannabis companies in states where it is legal, with the bill now moving on to the U.S. Senate.
Lawmakers voted 321-101 to approve the bill, a step towards removing barriers to hemp, CBD and cannabis companies that have had difficulties securing funding from banks that are wary of federal marijuana laws, even in states where it is legal.
Under the bill, proceeds from legitimate cannabis businesses would be legal, and federal regulators would supervise banking activity.
“Banks find themselves in a difficult situation due to the conflict between state and federal law, with local communities encouraging them to bank cannabis businesses and federal law prohibiting it,” the American Bankers Association wrote in a letter to lawmakers on Monday, according to Vitamin Retailer. “Congress must act to resolve this conflict.”
Thirty-six states have legalized medical cannabis and 17 states now allow adult use according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
“The #SAFEBankingAct is a big deal for the thousands of employees, businesses & communities who’ve been forced to deal in cash,” tweeted Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), who reintroduced the bill. “It’s past time to align state & federal law on this issue & I look forward to #SAFEBanking once again passing the House w/broad, bipartisan support.”
It is the fourth time the House has approved the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, but the bill never moved forward in the Senate under Republican control. This time industry supporters are confident the bill can progress in the Senate with Democrats now in control of both chambers and the White House.
According to the Marijuana Moment website which tracks hemp and marijuana legislation, “Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) are in the process of crafting a legalization bill, and they’ve already met with advocates to get feedback on how best to approach the policy change.”