SAFE Marijuana Banking Act Passes in the House

The Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Marijuana Banking Act has been passed in the House of Representatives and is now headed for the Senate.

The SAFE Banking Act has once again passed in the House of Reps, after receiving bipartisan support with a vote of 321-101. This is the fourth time the banking provision has passed in the House of Representatives, and now needs to be passed by the U.S. Senate and signed into law by President Biden to come into effect.

If the Act is signed into law, financial institutions will be able to work with cannabis companies without fear of reprisal or penalty, allowing cannabis companies to gain access to a wider range of capital.

Although recreational, adult-use marijuana sales are growing increasingly legal throughout the U.S. on a state level, marijuana remains federally illegal.

Cannabis' strict federal scheduling means that banks and financiers could be charged with aiding and abetting a federal crime if they come into contact with the plant.

This has left the cannabis industry virtually unable to deal with banks, with many stores requiring that shoppers pay in cash.

Companies then have to store their money in vaults, often with armed security guards and vans for when it needs to be transported. When it's tax time, some business owners will hire employees to count their cash, while others have invested in expensive, automated weighing machines to help them count.

This creates security issues as cannabis dispensaries are susceptible to robberies, in addition to requiring additional expenditure to transport their cash.

With a Democrat-controlled Senate, and Biden's nominal support for marijuana decriminalization, there is some hope the SAFE Banking Act may finally come into law.

However, the Act has failed several times previously, and Biden hasn't given the cannabis industry a great deal of optimism as of yet, so it remains uncertain what the future holds for the SAFE Banking Act.

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Louis O'Neill
Louis O'Neill

Louis is a writer based in Sydney with a focus on social and political issues. Having interviewed local politicians and entrepreneurs, Louis now focuses on cannabis culture, legislation & reform.