Members of Congress Vote to Legitimize Retail Cannabis Sales

Washington, DC: Members of the US House of Representatives voted on Wednesday in favor of legislation, HR 1595: The SAFE Banking Act, explicitly amending federal law so that financial institutions may work directly with state-licensed marijuana retailers and other related businesses.

House members voted 321 to 103 in favor of the legislation, with 229 Democrats and 91 Republicans casting ‘yes’ votes.

Commenting on the vote, NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said: “This vote is a significant first step, but it must not be the last. Much more action will still need to be taken by lawmakers. In the Senate, we demand that lawmakers in the Senate Banking Committee hold true to their commitment to move expeditiously in support of similar federal reforms. And in the House, we anticipate additional efforts to move forward and pass comprehensive reform legislation like The MORE Act — which is sponsored by the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee — in order to ultimately comport federal law with the new political and cultural realities surrounding marijuana.

Federal law currently defines all marijuana-related business endeavors as criminal enterprises, including those commercial activities that are licensed and legally regulated under state laws. Therefore, almost no state-licensed cannabis businesses can legally obtain a bank account, process credit cards, or obtain loans for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.