The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed the SAFE Banking Act — which would normalize banking and financial services for state-approved cannabis companies — for the sixth time, according to a Roll Call report. The legislation was included as an amendment to the China competition bill; it had previously approved the legislation as a stand-alone bill as recently as April, and as part of the 2022 defense spending bill, but it was omitted from the final version of the final law.
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), the bill’s primary sponsor, said in a statement that “Cannabis-related businesses — big and small — and their employees are in desperate need of access to the banking system and access to capital in order to operate in an efficient, safe manner and compete in the growing global cannabis marketplace.”
The amendment was also sponsored by Democratic Reps. Nydia M. Velázquez (NY) Barbara Lee (CA) and Earl Blumenauer (OR), and Republican Reps. Warren Davidson and David Joyce of Ohio. It was approved an amendment 262-168.
“The SAFE Banking Act is the best opportunity to enact some type of federal cannabis reform this year and will serve as the first of many steps to help ensure cannabis businesses are treated the same as any other legal, legitimate business.” — Perlmutter in a statement via Roll Call
The amendment’s approval was also praised by Credit Union National Association President Jim Nussle, who said in a statement to Roll Call that it “addresses an important public safety issue by providing legal businesses access to financial services.”
The proposal still needs to survive the conference process between the House and Senate. Some lawmakers in the upper chamber, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Democratic Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.), have said they might not support the amendment without an effort to pass broader reforms related to federal cannabis laws.
The bill carries 180 co-sponsors, including 26 Republicans, but Perlmutter and Joyce indicated they would keep pressing for the bill’s passage, especially as an amendment to other must-pass legislation.
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U.S. House Passes SAFE Banking Act