Washington, DC: Members of the US House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation on Tuesday, HR 1996: The SAFE Banking Act, amending federal law so that banks and other financial institutions could partner with state-licensed marijuana businesses. Two hundred and fifteen Democrats, along with 106 Republicans, voted in favor of the measure.
The vote marks the fourth time in two years that the House has advanced the Act. Previously, Senate leadership has either failed to take up the issue or has removed the language from broader legislation.
Following the most recent vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer reiterated his position that he’d like the Upper Chamber to consider the language as part of a more comprehensive Senate bill rather than as stand-alone legislation.
“I’ve always been of the view that while certainly we have to deal with the banking and financial issues that we should do them together with legalization because the [SAFE Banking Act] brings in some people who might not normally support legalization, and we want to get as broad a coalition as possible,” Schumer told MarijuanaMoment.net. “Here in the Senate, it’s our goal – as you know, Senators Booker and Wyden and I are working on comprehensive legalization legislation.”
Under current law, banks and other financial institutions are strongly discouraged from entering relationships with state-licensed marijuana businesses. Nationwide, fewer than 700 banks and/or credit unions are actively servicing marijuana-related businesses, according to data provided by the US Department of Treasury.
In response to the House vote, NORML’s Political Director Justin Strekal said: “For the first time since Joe Biden assumed the presidency, a supermajority of the House has voted affirmatively to recognize that the legalization and regulation of marijuana is a superior public policy to prohibition and criminalization. However, the SAFE Banking Act is only a first step at making sure that these state-legal markets operate safely and efficiently. The sad reality is that those who own or patronize the unbanked businesses are themselves criminals in the eyes of the federal government, which can only be addressed by removing marijuana from the list of controlled substances.”
For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director.