24 US senators push for inclusion of cannabis banking in competitiveness bill

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Two dozen U.S. senators called for congressional leadership to include cannabis banking reform in American competitiveness legislation now being negotiated between the House and Senate.

The letter, signed by 19 Democrats and five Republicans, advocates for the so-called SAFE Banking Act to be included in the final version of the competitiveness legislation.

The U.S. House previously included SAFE Banking in its version of the bill, the America COMPETES Act.

But the Senate didn’t include cannabis banking reform in its version, the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act.

While the latest effort by the senators is an indication of some bipartisan support for SAFE Banking, it remains unclear whether the support is sufficient to get the measure across the finish line, even as part of another bill.

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SAFE Banking would enable financial institutions to serve state-legal marijuana businesses without fear of federal reprisal.

“It would help ensure that legal cannabis businesses do not have to operate in all-cash – the current reality for thousands of small businesses across the country, which has led to ongoing threats of robbery and assault for business owners and employees,” according to a news release issued by the offices of Democratic Sens. Jeffrey Merkley of Oregon and Jacky Rosen of Nevada.