Cannabis banking protections removed from House budget bill

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House Republicans have stripped language containing cannabis banking protections from a federal spending bill, only 10 days after it passed a House of Representatives subcommittee.

The previous version of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act would have denied funding to federal agencies that penalized financial institutions for offering banking services to marijuana and hemp companies.

But Republican U.S. Rep. Chuck Edwards of North Carolina argued against the banking section Thursday during a full House Appropriations committee markup meeting.

“Our country has never allowed a federally illegal activity to be banked,” he said, according to The Hill.

In an effort to pass the spending bill – one of 12 Congress will consider – U.S. Rep. David Joyce, an Ohio Republican, the chair of the Financial Services and General Government subcommittee and a leading sponsor of banking reform efforts in Congress, agreed to remove the banking language.

“However, let me be clear, I will not abandon this effort in Congress and will continue to work with my colleagues in good faith to ensure they become law,” he added.

Despite robust support in prior Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, banking protections have never received a full vote in Congress.

Last year, a version of the SAFE Banking Act was heard in a Senate committee but did not advance to the floor.

Sixty votes are needed to pass major legislation in the Senate.

It’s unclear whether Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson will call SAFER Banking for a vote in the House.

A previous version of the government spending bill also recommended the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) receive a budget of more than $158 million, some of which would be dedicated to implementing a marijuana regulatory framework.

According to a report released with the budget bill, the House Appropriations Committee directed the TTB to assess state-regulated marijuana frameworks, “including commonalities and novel approaches to enforcement and oversight.

“The assessment shall include recommendations to improve data sharing and coordination between State and Federal authorities.”

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