SAFE Banking Act Passes House, Moves to Senate for Final Approval
Updated: Nov 20, 2019
The federal government is one step closer to legalizing cannabis...from a banking standpoint. Yesterday, legislators in the U.S. House of Representatives passed the SAFE Banking Act by a vote of 321-103.
The SAFE Banking Act currently has 206 cosponsors in the House, including 26 Republicans and 38 attorney generals across the country. The goal of the legislation is to shield banks that work with cannabis clients from being penalized by federal regulators. According to Marijuana Moment, the SAFE Banking Act is the first piece of standalone cannabis reform legislation to receive a House floor vote.
While the bill is not law just yet, the approval by the House represents a significant step forward in progress for federal cannabis reform. The bill now moves on to the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate for final approval, with hearings scheduled over the coming weeks and months.
What This Means For Patients
Currently, while banks and financial institutions could technically work with some cannabis clients, those that do bank cannabis companies and related businesses are required to answer regulators and comply with a series of onerous compliance. As a result, many banks do not feel that working in the cannabis space as worth the risk, time or cost.
This has created an environment in cannabis retail where patients are required to carry large amounts of cash on them in order to purchase their medicine, or use obscure mobile applications. The passage of the SAFE Banking Act into law would create a safer environment for patients, as they would be free to utilize credit and debit cards for cannabis purchases, foregoing the risk of carrying cash.
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