U.S. House Passes Federal Cannabis Banking Reform Legislation

On the #domestic front, the #US. #House advances federal #cannabis #banking reform for the fourth time in two years. The SAFE banking Act, which would protect #financial institutions who serve #marijuana businesses from interference by the federal government, passed the house floor by 321 to 101, after receiving overwhelming support through an initial #voice #vote. The measure would provide a solution for the many state-legal cannabis companies who have so far struggled to access traditional banking services and been forced to deal entirely in #cash, while potentially opening up their ability to raise #capital as well. An earlier version of the legislation was approved by the house in 2019, before being included as part of the chamber’s #coronavirus-relief packages twice, though it was repeatedly refused to be taken up by the then #Republican-controlled Senate. While the bill enjoys broad bipartisan support, with half of the house’s #republicans voting in favor, it also faces criticism from both cannabis prohibitionists and #advocates. Opponents, like #North #Carolina Republican Patrick McHenry, argued that because of marijuana’s current Schedule 1 status under the Controlled Substances Act, the proposal would impede law enforcement efforts and essentially legalize #money laundering. Some activists, meanwhile, are pushing for broader reform to be prioritized first, in order to promote social equity before indulging what they see as primarily industry interests. The fact that #Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer holds the same stance could hurt the measure’s chances, as he has expressed intentions to include it in the comprehensive cannabis legalization plan that he is currently working on with fellow Senators Cory Booker and Ron Wyden, which will most likely encounter more opposition than the standalone bill itself. Even if #Schumer’s proposal manages to clear both chambers, it’s chances of passing #President #Biden are uncertain, as he has failed to commit to signing either a legalization bill or the SAFE Banking Act.

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William Bradley

William Bradley

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