A provision that would permit banks to serve state-legal marijuana businesses without fear of federal reprisal is part of a $3 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill announced Tuesday by U.S. House Democrats.
The SAFE Banking Act, which the U.S. House overwhelmingly approved in September, is included in its entirety in the 1,815-page bill.
A vote on the bill could come later this week.
David Mangone, a Washington DC lobbyist who does work for the National Cannabis Roundtable, told Marijuana Business Daily that the inclusion of marijuana banking in the draft legislation is a “tremendous victory” that “strongly supports the decision that the majority of states have made by designating cannabis essential.”
But the Republican-controlled Senate already has warned that the stimulus bill, if passed by the House, won’t be considered.
The Senate’s Republican leaders have been adamant that another huge round of coronavirus-related stimulus funding isn’t yet warranted.
If the stimulus bill is considered by the Senate, Mangone indicated the cannabis banking measure would have a better chance of passing as part of the larger bill.
However, the measure still likely would be modified to address concerns raised by Senate Banking Chair Michael Crapo, an Idaho Republican.
For years, state-legal cannabis businesses have struggled to gain access to traditional financial services and loans, hamstringing their operations and growth, as well as creating a substantial public safety risk.
For more of Marijuana Business Daily’s ongoing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the cannabis industry, click here.