420: SAFE Banking Cannabis Finance Bill Passes House
De-banked cannabis firms are a step closer to being danked.
The house of Representatives voted to pass the SAFE Banking Act in a partisan vote 321-101. The bill protects legitimate cannabis businesses from federal sanctions and regulations that bar banks from funding cannabis firms.
The law will pass to the Senate, where it failed to get support last year (and the year before) when it was lumped into a trillion-dollar stimulus plan that the GOP blocked over the summer.
But now, as a standalone bill, supports believe it has a chance to succeed, enabling cannabis firms to delve into institutional coffers and directing federal regulators to create guidelines to supervise weed banking.
“We are grateful to the bill sponsors who have been working with us for the last eight years to make this sensible legislation become law,” said Aaron Smith, CEO of the National Cannabis Industry Association. “The SAFE Banking Act is vital for improving public safety and transparency and will improve the lives of the more than 300,000 people who work in the state-legal cannabis industry.”
Time may be running out for alternative finance to fund cannabis firms before more traditional finance gets in. Advocates believe the bill should go through the Senate Banking Committee and pass before the end of the year.
The American Bankers Association has lobbied aggressively for the bill.
“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 group wrote in a letter to lawmakers on Monday. “Congress must act to resolve this conflict.”Last modified: April 20, 2021