By a vote of 45-15, the House Financial Services Committee approved a bipartisan bill March 28 aimed at ensuring state-legal cannabis businesses are able to access basic banking and financial services. It is the first time a bill related to cannabis banking has been approved by a congressional committee.
While some marijuana industry businesses have been able to find banking services, most banks are unwilling to work with them because they fear federal prosecution, the MPP reported. As a result, many of these state-legal businesses are forced to operate entirely in cash.
“This is a historic and critical step forward for the nation’s burgeoning cannabis industry,” said MPP. “Many cannabis-related businesses are currently unable to get bank accounts and must operate entirely in cash, making them, their employees, and their customers potential targets for crime. Cannabis companies that are operating in full compliance with state and local laws should have the same ability to access banking services as any other legal business.”
The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (HR 1595) was introduced earlier this month by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and a bipartisan group of 108 original cosponsors. It currently has 152 total cosponsors in the House.