Democrats’ COVID-19 relief bill contains cannabis banking

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Buried deep in the U.S. House Democrats’ latest $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package, announced Monday, is a key provision that will delight cannabis businesses: the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking (SAFE) Act.

According to NORML, the main provisions of the proposed law – which would help marijuana businesses gain access to banking services – were included in the Democrats’ bill.

NORML Political Director Justin Strekal noted that the SAFE banking bill has already passed the House twice previously (the legislation has not been taken up by the full Senate) and called its inclusion a “positive development.”

“Small cannabis businesses in particular are facing tough economic times, and access to traditional financial tools will help ensure that they can weather this pandemic,” Strekal said in a statement.

It’s unclear yet whether the Senate might approve the House Democrats’ bill, even if it passes the full House.

As of early this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was still negotiating with the White House on a new coronavirus relief package, CNBC reported.

House Democrats caved to both Senate Republicans and some in their own party recently when they decided to delay a vote on marijuana legalization until after the November election, so it’s unclear how politically palatable cannabis reform is on Capitol Hill these days.