Key marijuana banking ally continues fight to get SAFE across finish line

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U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter continues to push for marijuana banking reform, this time by filing the SAFE Banking Act as an amendment to the national defense budget bill for fiscal year 2023.

Perlmutter’s action comes only a week after SAFE was stripped from an American competitiveness spending bill.

A Colorado Democrat, Perlmutter has spearheaded efforts over the years that have resulted in the U.S. House of Representatives passing SAFE multiple times either as a stand-alone bill or attached to a spending measure.

But the Senate, where 60 votes are required for passage, remains a formidable hurdle.

“As I’ve repeatedly said, I will pursue any and all legislative avenues to get SAFE Banking across the finish line this year,” Perlmutter said in a statement.

Perlmutter, who said earlier this year that he won’t run for reelection, and other proponents have been highlighting the increasing security risks, including violent robberies, as a result of marijuana businesses handling mostly cash transactions.

Cannabis banking reform would enable marijuana businesses to have better access to traditional banking services, such as deposit accounts, credit card services and loans.

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Separately, two House lawmakers last week introduced the bipartisan Capital Lending and Investment for Marijuana Businesses (CLIMB) Act of 2022, with support from numerous marijuana industry groups.

But again, it’s unclear whether the bill would be able to muster enough support in the Senate.