The bill has been slightly revised this session to include hemp and cbd businesses
A bill to protect banks that service state-legal marijuana businesses from being penalized by federal regulators has again been filed in the House.
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) reintroduced the legislation, titled the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act. The measure cleared the House along largely bipartisan lines during the last Congress, but it did not advance in the Senate under Republican control.
With Democrats now in control of the House, Senate and White House, industry stakeholders are optimistic that the legislation stands a solid chance of becoming law this year.
The bill as introduced has 102 initial cosponsors, with Reps. Steve Stivers (R-OH), Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and Warren Davidson (R-OH) taking the lead alongside Perlmutter. By the end of the 116th Congress, the prior version of the bill garnered 206 cosponsors. The current bill includes support from 13 Republicans.
A new companion Senate version of the bill is expected to be filed next week.
The SAFE Banking Act would ensure that financial institutions could take on cannabis business clients without facing federal penalties. Fear of sanctions has kept many banks and credit unions from working with the industry, forcing marijuana firms to operate on a cash basis that makes them targets of crime and creates complications for financial regulators.
The bill has been slightly revised this session to expand banking protections to explicitly include hemp and CBD businesses, and some technical changes were made to clarify language around insurance and safe harbor provisions. A separate bill to address insurance issues in the cannabis market was also introduced in the Senate on Thursday.
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