Congress plans to vote on the SAFE Banking Act this week. Reports say the "Secure and Fair Enforcement" legalization bill is expected on the House floor this Wednesday, September 25.
Last week, Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer from Maryland announced H.R. 1595 will appear for a landmark vote in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The latest bill was sponsored by Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter from Colorado and introduced on March 7, 2019. Just weeks later, the House Financial Services Committee voted to move the bill forward with a 45 to 15 vote.
Congress.gov says H.R. 1595-Safe Banking Act of 2019 was set up, "To create protections for depository institutions that provide financial services to cannabis-related legitimate businesses and service providers for such businesses, and for other purposes."
The goal is to get rid of the vague area of marijuana banking on the federal level.
Right now, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 substance under the Controlled Substance Act. Because it's illegal under federal law, banks and other financial institutions avoid doing businesses with legal cannabis businesses in legal states. The majority of local and national banks will not work with marijuana businesses because of the fear they will face retributions from the federal government under federal drug and money laundering regulations.
What Happens if the SAFE Banking Act Passes?
It is set up to fix the banking system in the marijuana industry in legal states by allowing regular banking to occur within the industry. Currently, business owners say dealing with all cash can be dangerous for its employees. There have been reports of thefts and robberies. The bill allows businesses to set up credit card processing. Currently, most dispensaries have ATMs in their lobbies and take cash only. It would also allow for tracking systems to be set up. Businesses and people wanting to get into the industry would also be able to apply for credit or business loans.
In the end, the goal is for the federal government to acknowledge cannabis in legal states as a legitimate sector.
The SAFE Banking Act has more than 200 co-sponsors and has bi-partisan support.
Read more on How Would the Safe Banking Act Change the Industry.
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