U.S. House of Representatives passes the SAFE Banking act.
SAFE is the first legislation passed by the Democrat-controlled Congress.
The bill has been approved four times so far but has not been taken up by the Senate.
The bill will have to pass the Senate and be signed by President Biden before becoming law.
Biden is still opposed to ending the federal prohibition of marijuana.
On Monday, April 19th, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a cannabis banking reform to protect banks from penalization for serving state-legal marijuana businesses. The measure was passed by a strong bipartisan vote of 321-101. This groundbreaking move was the first major marijuana legislation approved by the new Democratic-controlled Congress.
The new reform will enable banks and other financial institutions to serve cannabis industry clientele without fear of federal penalties. Currently, marijuana dispensaries have been forced to operate on a cash-only basis, making them prime targets for criminals, as well as creating multiple complications for financial regulators.
Rep. Ed Perlmutter took the House floor after the win and proclaimed:
“The fact is that people in states and localities across the country are voting to approve some level of cannabis use, and we need these cannabis businesses and employees to have access to checking accounts, payroll accounts, lines of credit, credit cards, and more. This will improve transparency and accountability, and help law enforcement root out illegal transactions to prevent tax evasion, money laundering, and other white-collar crime. But most importantly, this will reduce the risk of violent crime in our communities.”
SAFE has been a long time coming
The reform, known as the SAFE Banking Act, was first proposed by legislators in 2019. Initially, the Banking Act was met with resistance from cannabis advocates who felt that Congress should prioritize social equity and legalization