The full chamber passed, for the first time ever, a stand-alone cannabis reform bill, says ICBC. The bill is the SAFE Banking Act (H.R. 1595). In its current form the bill would:
- Prevent federal banking regulators from punishing banks for working with state-legal cannabis and hemp-related businesses
- Protect ancillary cannabis industry businesses from being charged with certain financial crimes related to cannabis’ Schedule I federal status
- Require the Financial Institution Examination Council to develop guidance to help educate credit unions and banks on how to work with state-legal cannabis companies
- Allow traditional lending from financial service providers to small businesses, and require regular reporting on cannabis industry loan practices involving women and people of color
The bill passed with bipartisan support, with the measure passing by a vote of 321-103 and receiving ‘yea’ votes from nearly half of voting Republicans in the chamber. The National Cannabis Industry Association has been working on educating lawmakers about the need for this legislation for a long time and deserves an enormous hat tip for its efforts.
According to cannabislaw.report, The bipartisan SAFE Banking Act (H.R.1595) was introduced by Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Denny Heck (D-WA), Steve Stivers (R-OH), and Warren Davidson (R-OH), and it had 206 total cosponsors (including 108 original). It aims to address the state-legal cannabis industry’s lack of access to banking and other financial services. In summary, it provides a safe harbor from federal prosecution for financial institutions that offer services to state-legal cannabis businesses, reducing the uncertainty and risk that deters many banks from working with the cannabis industry.
"The historic passage of the SAFE Banking Act by the U.S. House of Representatives is an important first step in the process toward normalizing the cannabis industry's ability to transact. If ratified, the bill will increase the safety of our operations for our patients, customers and employees by reducing the reliance on cash and promoting transparency. This is incredibly important legislation for an industry that represents approximately $50 billion in sales per year and is expected to grow to $80 billion in sales by 2030, according to Cowen. In addition to normalizing the industry, the bill also provides more access to capital for cannabis businesses of all sizes, which will support social equity in our industry. We applaud the members of the House for their leadership in passing this important bill with bipartisan support and look forward to gaining support in the Senate," said Curaleaf CEO Joseph Lusardi.
“This evening saw a milestone moment for our industry with the overwhelming and bipartisan passage of the SAFE Banking Act by the House of Representatives,” commented Kevin Murphy, Chairman and CEO of Acreage. “The bill, which would deliver access to traditional banking services for the over 10,000 legal cannabis businesses in the U.S., promotes the safety, transparency and certainty that the cannabis industry, the fastest growing sector of the U.S. economy, needs to prosper.”
“The passage of the SAFE Banking Act by the U.S. House of Representatives represents a significant first step in the effort to provide stability and security to the multibillion-dollar cannabis industry,” said Cresco Labs CEO and Co-founder Charlie Bachtell. “By allowing cannabis companies to access commercial banking services and end their reliance on cash, the SAFE Banking Act would facilitate a safer operating environment for all stakeholders. We continue to see extremely encouraging progress made from a legislative standpoint at both the federal and state levels that is contributing to the normalization of the cannabis industry. The passage of the SAFE Banking Act will also provide access to banking and capital to fuel diversity and make the cannabis industry more inclusive for everyone. The bipartisan support shown in passing the SAFE Banking Act through the House demonstrates the clear merits of this legislation, and we look forward to similar support being shown as the bill moves to the Senate.”