Marijuana Banking Legislation Update:
The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which would prohibit financial institutions from being penalized for doing business with marijuana companies, was stripped from the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the omnibus spending bill pending in Congress. In September, the House included the SAFE Banking Act as an amendment to the NDAA for the fiscal year 2022, but the Act was removed by a conference committee in the Senate this week. U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D — Colorado) confirmed the legislation’s removal on Twitter.
The House passed a similar cannabis banking reform bill in 2019, but the legislation has yet to make it through the Senate. The SAFE Banking Act would ease restrictions on the use of banking services by legitimate marijuana-related businesses by, among other things, prohibiting a federal banking regulator from penalizing a depository institution for providing banking services to a cannabis-related business where state law allows such businesses.
According to a recent tweet by Rep. Perlmutter, the SAFE Banking Act would “strengthen the security of our financial system & keep bad actors like cartels out. Most importantly, it will reduce the risk of violent crime in our communities.”
The SAFE Banking Act, along with other federal legislation such as the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment & Expungement (MORE) Act, which seeks to remove marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act, the proposed Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, a comprehensive de-scheduling and restorative justice proposal, and the recently announced States Reform Act, which seeks to end the federal prohibition of marijuana, all represent the latest efforts in Congress to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. While cannabis reform legislation has been gaining momentum in Congress in recent years, thus far, these efforts have been unsuccessful.
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