On April 19, lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (H.R. 1996) in a floor vote of 321-101. This legislation would prevent federal 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.
“This vote marks a meaningful first step in establishing a more equitable cannabis industry and improves the likelihood that other cannabis legislation will advance at the federal level,” said the MPP. “Restricting cannabis businesses from accessing financial services creates an unnecessary burden for the industry and limits economic growth. If enacted into law, the SAFE Banking Act would strengthen efforts to increase the diversity of the cannabis industry by providing resources for those with limited access to capital and increasing the chances of success for state-level social equity initiatives. Further, it would protect the 321,000 employees directly affected by the cannabis industry’s lack of access to financial services.”
The SAFE Banking Act previously cleared the House in 2019. The language of the bill was also included in two rounds of COVID-19 relief packages that were approved by the House. A version of this legislation has been introduced in the Senate (S. 910) and currently has 32 cosponsors.