WASHINGTON – A bill that would give banks a legal safe haven to work with cannabis companies was removed from a major legislative package focusing on strengthening U.S. economic competitiveness with China, lawmakers announced Thursday.
The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act will not be included in the two-chamber version of the US Innovation and Competition Act, despite significant political pressure from the banking industry as well as elected officials in Colorado and Washington State, where the cannabis sector’s dependence on cash has made it a lucrative target for criminal activity.
SAFE Banking Acts longtime sponsor, Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., Blew up Senate leadership to once again remove the bill from consideration. SAFE Banking has now passed Parliament more than six times – most recently through Parliament’s version of the US-China bill – but has never been voted in the Senate.
“The Senate continues to ignore public safety risk by forcing cannabis companies to trade in all cash,” Perlmutter said in a statement released Thursday. “In the wake of the Senate’s inaction, people continue to be killed, companies continue to be robbed, and employees and business owners in the cannabis industry continue to be excluded from the financial system.”
The development was first reported by Punchbowl News, which said the decision was “a GOP requirement. ”
Perlmutter said he would continue to press for the SAFE Banking Act to be included in the US-China bill, “other legislative vehicles, or for the Senate to finally take up the independent version of the bill, which has sat in the Senate for three years. half a year.”
The bill between the United States and China was considered by political analysts to be one of the three most likely roads for cannabis banks to receive legislative approval in the current session of Congress. The second approach concerns another significant legislative package – the National Defense Authorization Act, to be adopted for the financial year 2023.
The SAFE Banking Act could also appear as a separate bill in the Senate if Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s comprehensive law on the legalization of cannabis is officially abandoned.
As a separate bill, SAFE Banking is likely to take on additional provisions to satisfy progressives, such as federal funds to help states erase the criminal records of nonviolent cannabis offenders. Republicans are also expected to push for access to the capital markets for cannabis companies, making it easier for institutional investors to support the industry.