On Tuesday, March 26th, the House Financial Service Committee will take up, debate and vote on the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, a bi-partisan bill addressing the cannabis industry’s banking crisis. A yes vote on the SAFE Act would represent a crucial milestone in federal marijuana policy and pave the way for major financial institutions to work with legal cannabis businesses. But just days ahead of the committee markup, a key sponsor of the bill moved to add provisions that would help to further diversity and inclusion across the industry.
Passage of the SAFE Banking Act Would Clear a Major Roadblock to Cannabis Industry Growth
For years, federal legislators on both sides of the aisle have tried to pass laws to protect banks who do businesses with state-legal cannabis companies. Without those protections, federally regulated financial institutions have largely refused to provide services to cannabis industry participants. Since federal law classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, banks who work with cannabis businesses are vulnerable to federal prosecution.
But under the SAFE Banking Act, the federal government would no longer consider proceeds from cannabis and cannabis-related business transactions as proceeds from unlawful activity. And that means that banks