On Sept 25, lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (H.R. 1595) in a floor vote of 321-103. This legislation would prevent federal financial regulators from punishing financial institutions that provide services to state-legal cannabis businesses. Currently, most banks are unwilling to work with the cannabis industry because they fear federal prosecution.
“We applaud House lawmakers for voting in favor of the SAFE Banking Act,” said Steve Hawkins, executive director at the MPP. “The cannabis industry can no longer proceed without the same access to financial services that other legal companies are granted. This decision is an indication that Congress is more willing than ever to support and take action on sensible cannabis policies. The passage of the SAFE Banking Act improves the likelihood that other cannabis legislation will advance at the federal level.”
The SAFE Banking Act is the first standalone cannabis bill to receive a full vote in the House.
“Passing the SAFE Banking Act is a significant win and a critical step forward for cannabis policy reform,” said Don Murphy, director of federal policies at the MPP. “It is clear that lawmakers understand the public health and public safety benefits of allowing cannabis businesses to access financial services. Access to banking would allow for broader patient access, help with business transparency and compliance, and reduce safety risks associated with cash-only operations.”
A version of this legislation has been introduced in the Senate (S. 1200) and currently has 33 cosponsors.