It was the first ever vote on a stand-alone cannabis bill, and it turned into a first win for those pushing for normalization in the cannabis industry.
The House of Representatives voted to pass the SAFE Banking Act by a 321 to 103 vote. It received votes in favor from 229 democrats, 91 republicans, and one independent.
The Secure and Fair Enforcement Act, co-sponsored by Colorado Democratic Senator Ed Perlmutter, was drafted to give protections to financial institutions that work with licensed cannabis businesses in legal states.
While the act passed with an overwhelming majority in the Democratic-controlled House, some experts say it could prove difficult to pass in the Republican-controlled Senate. There could be some amendments in order to get enough votes for the bill to pass the Senate.
If the bill passes in the Senate, it would need the signature of President Donald Trump in order to become law. There is no word at this point on whether the president supports the SAFE Banking Act.
The bill will push for safety within the cannabis industry.
The Secure and Fair Enforcement legalization was brought to the House floor Wednesday. The 2019 bill, sponsored by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) was introduced to remove the vague area of marijuana banking rules on the federal level.
The general public was able to watch history unfold live on Wednesday, as the House debated and voted on the marijuana banking bill.
Because marijuana is illegal under federal law, financial institutions avoid doing business with dispensaries and marijuana businesses in legal states. Banks fear they will be penalized by the federal government.
SAFE Banking Act 2019
Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 2019
“This bill generally prohibits a federal banking regulator from penalizing a depository institution for providing banking services to a legitimate marijuana-related business.
Specifically, the bill prohibits a federal banking regulator from:
(1) terminating or limiting the deposit insurance or share insurance of a depository institution solely because the institution provides financial services to a legitimate marijuana-related business;
(2) prohibiting or otherwise discouraging a depository institution from offering financial services to such a business;
(3) recommending, incentivizing, or encouraging a depository institution not to offer financial services to an account holder solely because the account holder is affiliated with such a business;
(4) taking any adverse or corrective supervisory action on a loan made to a person solely because the person either owns such a business or owns real estate or equipment leased or sold to such a business; and
(5) penalizing a depository institution for processing or collecting payments for such a business.
As specified by the bill, a depository institution shall not, under federal law, be liable or subject to forfeiture for providing a loan or other financial services to a legitimate marijuana-related business."
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