With a 45 to 15 vote Thursday, the House Financial Services Committee has advanced a major federal marijuana reform bill that would significantly expand legal cannabis businesses’ access to financial services. The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act is just the third standalone cannabis bill to clear a congressional committee. And while no floor action is currently scheduled, a Democratic majority and an unprecedented 152 co-sponsors makes lawmakers confident that the SAFE Act will clear its full House vote easily and put pressure on the Senate to take action.
Landmark Cannabis Banking Bill Kicks Off Federal Marijuana Reform Agenda
One of the most substantial obstacles blocking cannabis industry growth has been its lack of access to even the most basic financial services. Federally backed and regulated financial institutions have been extremely reluctant to take on cannabis industry clients, despite wanting to, since doing so would expose them to federal money laundering and other financial crime charges.
Without access to banks, cannabis companies have largely operated on a cash-only basis, covering everything from payroll to taxes to inventory with liquid capital. The security, safety and transparency problems this gives rise to have been well-documented. And the industry, along with banks,