- Legislation that would provide protections for banks that serve legal cannabis businesses was excluded from the large-scale manufacturing and innovation bill aimed at boosting the U.S.’s competitiveness with China, lawmakers announced on Thursday.
- Bowing to Republicans’ demand, leaders from both parties decided to exclude the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act from the bicameral version of the America COMPETES Act, according to Punchbowl News.
- SAFE Banking’s exclusion from the larger package is the latest setback for cannabis banking proponents who have been pushing for the passage of cannabis banking provisions since 2013.
Despite passing in the House six times, most recently as part of the House version of the manufacturing bill, SAFE Banking has yet to see similar traction in the Senate.
The legislation has garnered wide support from cannabis industry advocates and banking trade groups who say the industry’s lack of access to banks puts businesses and communities at risk.
While a growing number of states have legalized marijuana, the drug remains illegal at the federal level, causing many federally chartered banks to steer clear of the emerging industry.
“By excluding the #SAFEBankingAct from the #USICA/#COMPETES bill, the Senate continues to ignore the public safety risk of forcing cannabis businesses to deal in all cash,” Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-CO, tweeted on Thursday. “In the wake of the Senate’s inaction, people continue to be killed and businesses continue to be robbed.”
Lawmakers have tried to fold SAFE Banking into larger pieces of legislation in the past.
Proponents have tried and failed to tie the cannabis banking legislation to the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), as well as two COVID-19 relief bills.
Perlmutter, who has introduced the SAFE Banking every Congress since 2013, said he will continue to fight for the legislation.
“I will continue to push for #SAFEBanking to be included in COMPETES, other legislative vehicles, or for the Senate to finally take up the standalone version of the bill which has been sitting in the Senate for three and a half years,” he tweeted.