The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that includes legislation that would enable banks to serve marijuana businesses without fear of reprisal, but it’s currently unclear whether the measure will pass the full Congress. The SAFE Banking Act was similarly attached to a national defense budget bill, only to be stripped out by Senate leadership.
The House passed the multibillion-dollar America COMPETES (Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology) Act of 2022 by a vote of 222-210 along party lines. America COMPETES, also referred to as the China competition bill, is intended to boost U.S. competitiveness in part by strengthening semiconductor manufacturing.
“I am pleased that the U.S. House of Representatives saw fit to include and pass the provisions of the SAFE Banking Act in the America COMPETES Act,” said Marijuana Policy Project. Today’s vote was a positive step in the right direction. A lack of access to banking is a constant obstacle for state-legal cannabis businesses across the country and hinders social equity efforts. The reality is that states are going to continue to move forward with legalizing cannabis. We at the Marijuana Policy Project are delighted that Congress is beginning to recognize that they can no longer ignore this issue.”
The House earlier had adopted the SAFE Banking Act as an amendment to the legislation.
Rep. Ed Perlmutter, a Colorado Democrat who has been the foremost champion of SAFE Banking over the years, told reporters Friday at a media briefing that he’s determined to get SAFE past the finish line. He said “we’ll see how (this attempt) comes out” when a House-Senate conference committee works to resolve the differences between the House version of COMPETES and a version already passed by the Senate.