Marijuana Banking Bill Approved By House Committee
The House Financial Services Committee approved legislation on Thursday that would greatly expand marijuana businesses’ access to banks and other financial services.
Following multiple days of lengthy debate, the House panel backed the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act, or SAFE Banking Act, with a 45-15 vote.
The measure, which was introduced by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), and is co-sponsored by more than 150 members, including 12 Republicans, bars federal regulators from limiting or terminating a bank’s deposit insurance or otherwise penalizing them from working with marijuana businesses. The bill also includes provisions aimed at expanding access to minority and women-owned cannabis-related companies.
The bill “addresses an urgent public safety concern for legitimate businesses that currently have no recourse but to operate with just cash,” Chairwoman Maxine Waters said at the start of the committee’s proceedings.
“However, I also consider this bill as part of a holistic approach toward providing criminal justice reform to those who have been harmed by criminalization of marijuana, and should not by any means be the only bill the House takes up on the important issue of cannabis reform,” she said.
Though the bill has a long way to go before being approved into law, marijuana advocates and businesses are hopeful that the measure will be the first significant step in federal marijuana reform.