In historic move, US House to vote on cannabis banking bill next week

A bill that would create a federal safe harbor for financial institutions to serve state-lawful cannabis businesses and ancillary companies will be put to a landmark vote in the U.S. House of Representatives next week, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Friday.

Hoyer, D-Maryland, announced on the House floor that he will schedule the SAFE Banking Act for a vote.

His office sent out an email to lawmakers informing them of the decision.

Mariel Saez, Hoyer’s deputy communications director, wrote in an email to Marijuana Business Daily on Friday that the bill is expected to reach the House floor on Wednesday.

The vote is being scheduled despite a request by civil rights groups that comprehensive reform with criminal and social justice provisions be considered first.

SAFE Banking will require a two-thirds majority vote to pass because it’s being filed under what is called a suspension of the rules.

The bill would enable state legal marijuana businesses to gain access to bank financing for operations and expansion

Currently, the industry deals mostly in cash transactions, which creates security and other concerns.

By placing a cannabis banking bill for a vote prior to a more comprehensive measure, sponsors risk losing support of some progressives who believe that federal MJ reform must include addressing the victims of the war on drugs.

But proponents also hope to gain more support from Republicans with the addition of hemp provisions in the bill.

Rep. Andy Barr, R-Kentucky, and SAFE Banking Act sponsor Ed Perlmutter, D-Colorado, have worked together to add provisions requiring federal financial regulators to confirm the federal legality of  hemp and hemp-derived CBD products, and issue guidance to financial institutions.

Hemp businesses continue to struggle to gain access to financial services, despite the fact that hemp is now legal federally with the passage of the Farm Bill of 2018.

The House Financial Services Committee advanced the SAFE Banking Act earlier this year by a resounding 45-15 vote, and cannabis industry officials believe the full House will approve by the necessary margin as well.

Separately, Senate Banking Chair Michael Crapo, R-Idaho, told Politico last week that he wants his committee to vote on a marijuana banking bill by year-end.

But Crapo indicated his office might craft its own bill instead of trying to advance the SAFE Banking Act, which was introduced in the Senate by Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon.

The Republican-controlled Senate is seen as a higher hurdle for a cannabis banking bill.

Jeff Smith can be reached at [email protected]

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4 comments on “In historic move, US House to vote on cannabis banking bill next week
  1. mike on

    good idea finally, legal business people can now safely keep their hard earned money under fdic protection. the gov needs to know where the cash is now that mj is legal because the tax man cometh but safer to pay taxes than keeping $100k under the mattress where thieves and law enforcement raids can have access.
    old foreclosure king Mnuchin will be wanting to open another bank.

  2. Melody Tu-Bigney on

    It is a relief to see things moving forward at the federal level, it’s such a pain point for an industry experiencing enormous growth and acceptance. California legislators stood still fearful of what the future holds.

  3. Glenda on

    Well I hope the bill passes cause I think it’s bull that these businesses have to be in danger for their life just because the federal government keeps ahold of cannabis just for their own good of pharmaceutical drug companies filling their pockets to keep it on their illegal drug list these businesses people need to be able to bank their profits and be able to pay their taxes without putting their lives in danger and I also believe it’s wrong for cannabis to be legalized in 47 states in some form and people in 3 states to be denied use of cannabis for certain illnesses and for adult recreational use especially when it can have the same rules as alcohol regulations is put on it hell alcohol has proven to be very dangerous to people’s health alcohol has no benefits at all whereas with marijuana it has nothing but good benefits and has not killed or harmed anybody and that’s been proven in more ways then one even the FDA has agreed with that so it’s time for change in our senate or we the people may need to think about voting in a different direction come November

  4. Joseph Preister on

    i have epilepsy and have the right to do cannabis and medical marijuana i have a california heally Medical Marijuana ID Card nebraska needs to legalize


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